Most Americans believe the federal government’s $300-a-week sweetener to state unemployment benefits should end immediately, a new survey has found.
Fifty-two percent of people believe the benefits should end now, with just 30 percent saying they should continue until their Sept. 6 expiration date and 16 percent saying they should continue indefinitely, according to the survey of 2,600 people, conducted by Momentive and the New York Times on June 16.
The supplemental checks, which are added to state unemployment benefits, were launched last year to counter the fallout from the coronavirus. Some 3.4 million Americans continue to draw from them.
The payouts have become a partisan issue, with most Republicans and business owners blaming them for acute labor shortages that have plagued companies from fast-food chains to gig-worker apps like Uber. Eighty percent of Republicans said the benefits should end now, compared with 50 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats, according to the survey.
Among those unemployed, 33 percent say they haven’t been able to find a job that is worth taking, while 21 percent cite family responsibilities. Eleven percent say they don’t feel safe going back to work because of the virus. Another 34 percent cited some of the above reasons along with another factor — that they couldn’t find jobs in their profession.
Twenty-six states — all led by Republican governors — have announced plans to end the federal unemployment benefits before September.
Twelve states had already ended the program as of June 19. But job search company Indeed.com reports that even in those 12 states, job searches did not increase beyond the national average around the time that the benefits were ending in those states on June 12 and June 19.
Instead, Indeed.com found that when states announced that they would be pulling the plug on the benefits, there was a quick surge in job searches, but that it didn’t last.
“These cutoffs have not led to a large and sustained increase in job search activity in those states compared to other states,” Indeed.com economist Jed Kolka told The Post. “It may be too soon to see an effect,” or there may be other factors affecting decisions to accept a new job, he said.
Some people who can afford it and who are vaccinated may simply want to travel now, he said, noting that airfare and car rental prices are rising. At the same time, the rate at which people are quitting jobs — 2.7 percent as of April — is the highest in 20 years.
“For many people, the value of leisure time is high right now,” Kolka said. “There is a lot more you can do this summer than last summer and we are seeing that in what people are spending money on.”