Many essential jobs are offering reduced hours and pay that dips below the current unemployment rate. So why should someone who is unemployed take a job that pays less than their available unemployment benefits?
1. The lack of jobs won’t last forever.
Many jobs that were furloughed will get called back to work as businesses return to normal (or whatever the “new normal” turns out to be). And when that happens, if workers choose not to go back to their positions, they can be considered to have voluntarily quit—thereby losing their unemployment benefits.
Note: Some valid reasons for not going back to work include COVID-19 related issues such as becoming ill, no longer being able to perform job duties as a result of the virus, not having available childcare due to COVID-19 restrictions, etc.
2. It’s a good time for a career change.
Employers who are looking to fill jobs now are competing with the higher unemployment benefits currently being offered. Meanwhile, some potential employees may choose not to work as hard to find a new job while they can collect this higher unemployment. This conundrum creates a pocket of available positions that are actually hard to fill, meaning employers have to look harder to find qualified applicants. This is a boon for those looking for a career change, because employers are willing to take the time to look beyond someone’s work history to consider skills they may have gained elsewhere.
For example, if your resume is full of customer service jobs but you have a side business building decks for your neighbors, you might be able to showcase those skills to an employer who is more willing to give you a chance for a construction job.
3. Eventually, additional unemployment benefits will end.
The extra $600 per week of unemployment benefits ends on July 25, 2020. Even if you could find a way to ride it out and take unemployment as long as possible, eventually the benefits will return to normal levels. Which means that by July at the latest, there will be a rush of people vying for the available positions. White House Economic Advisor Kevin Hassett has warned that “unemployment could hit levels not seen since the Great Depression,” even as high as 16% nationwide.
Imagine all of those people scrambling to accept positions at the same time, and you’ll find a tough job market that is employer-driven. It’s worth getting your foot in the door now, even if unemployment pays more temporarily, so that you don’t have to fight the crowds in the summer.