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Morning Consult: 1.84M Turned Down Work to Keep Biden Jobless Bonus

An estimated 1.84 million Americans turned down work to stay on the Biden administration’s jobless bonus payroll, according to Morning Consult’s latest poll.

About one-third of unemployment benefit recipients have turned down job offers during the pandemic, including 45% of those who cited the unemployment benefits as a major factor in turning down the job and 13% who said unemployment benefits were the direct reason they turned down the job.

President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, signed into law in March, delivered a $300 weekly bonus for Americans who remained unemployed, on top of regular unemployment benefits. Republicans argued that meant many jobless Americans would be paid more not to work than to reenter the labor force.

The 1.84 million estimate comes from 13% of those directly turning down work due to unemployment benefits, among the roughly 14.1 million collecting in mid-June when the poll was taken.

“Looking ahead, 1.84 million also provides a reasonable upper bound estimate of the number of jobs likely to be filled through the end of the year as a result of the expiration of federal unemployment benefits over the summer,” Morning Consult chief economist John Leer wrote.

Also, Republicans have a case in their criticism of the extended benefits, according to the Washington Examiner.

The national average of statewide unemployment payers was $387, so the average jobless American collecting the $300 bonus was netting $687 a week, which would equate to $17.17 hourly wage to remain out of work. That is more than double the current federal minimum wage and even higher than progressive Democrats’ plan to impose a $15 minimum wage nationwide.

The governors of 26 states nationwide have opted out of the Biden bonus early, shortening the duration from 12 weeks to five and excluding gig workers and independent contractors, according to Morning Consult.

The ending of the Biden bonus is a motivator for the unemployed to get back to work sooner, though, according to the poll.

Not only do 35% of all unemployment recipients feel a lot of pressure to find work, those who know their bonus is expiring soon are more likely to be feeling the pressure to find work. The difference is 20 percentage points as 45% whose benefits expired with a month feel pressure to find work, while just 25% over three months into the future said they feel pressure to get back to work, the poll found.

Morning Consult surveyed 5,000 U.S. adults June 22-25, including 463 receiving unemployment benefits at the time of the poll. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

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