"We believe that the expiration of jobless benefits will cause many workers to drop out of the labor force and will motivate others to accept jobs they had previously rejected."If jobless benefits were causing people to stay out of the labor force by rejecting jobs in order to continue a search for work they likely will not find, the these benefits were creating frictions in the economy that kept it from adjusting to a shift in the labor force composition. Unemployment benefits are rationalized by the notion that people need time to find the most efficient job. If months of search prove fruitless, it may be time to adjust to a new labor market equilibrium. It is unclear exactly why people would drop out of the labor force if they are not paid to look for jobs. On the contrary, it would seem that in order to eat, they would start working immediately. The economist Casey Mulligan provides evidence to this effect at his blog Supply and Demand. He creates the following chart, showing that as soon as unemployment benefits run out (weeks around exhaustion = 0), there is a huge jump in the number of people returning to work (click here to enlarge image).
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Loss of Jobless Benefits Could Lower Unemployment Rate
CNBC article "Loss of Jobless Benefits Could Lower Unemployment Rate" (June 30th, 2010) argues that when unemployment benefits run out, some unemployed will become depressed and stop looking for work, causing the unemployment rate (a measure of those looking for jobs but unable to find them) to decrease. Presumably, this is bad for the economy and such a decrease in the unemployment rate would be a false sign of recovery. Then the article makes a point that would seem to wash over its whole argument, but the article does not elaborate.