"No uptick in employment" in states ending pandemic benefits

Census survey data indicates that there was “no uptick in employment” in the twelve states that cut residents off from federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits in mid-June. However, residents of those states were more likely to report it was “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to pay for usual household expenses, compared to surveys conducted before the unemployment programs ended. 

Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at UMass Amherst, published his findings on July 18.

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Job searches down in first states to end pandemic unemployment

Job searches are lower in states that were first to cut off federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits, compared to states that have continued to participate in those federal programs, according to analysis by Jed Kolko, the chief economist for the online jobs site Indeed.

Governor Kim Reynolds announced on May 11 that Iowans would cease to be able to collect the pandemic-related unemployment, effective June 12, putting Iowa among the first four states to end their participation in the federal programs. Tens of thousands of jobless Iowans were receiving a total of more than $30 million a week through the three discontinued programs. Iowa business groups and Republican politicians applauded the move, saying the extra unemployment benefits were holding back the economy by keeping people out of the workforce.

Kolko regularly tracks online job searches and found last month that “job search activity on Indeed increased, relative to the national trend, in states that announced they would end federal UI benefits prematurely.” However, “This increase was temporary, vanishing by the eighth day after the announcement. In the second week after the announcement, the state’s share of national clicks was no higher than it was during the late-April baseline.”

Kolko wrote on June 22 (emphasis added),

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An open letter to Governor Kim Reynolds

This post first appeared on Laura Crossett’s website The New Rambler. -promoted by Laura Belin

Dear Governor Reynolds:

It is my understanding that you have decided to discontinue additional federal unemployment payments to Iowans who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic because you want people to get back to work. As one of those Iowans, I’m writing to you because I would very much like to go back to work, but I’m having some difficulty figuring out how I might do so.

I have a child who suffers from significant mental illness. As I know both mental health services and child care are interests of yours, I thought perhaps you might have some advice.

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Five terrible bills Iowa Republicans didn't pass in 2021

The Iowa House and Senate adjourned late in the evening on May 19 after finishing most of their work for this year. (Lawmakers will almost certainly come back for a special session to consider new maps of Iowa’s legislative and Congressional districts.)

In the coming days, Bleeding Heartland will closely examine several bills that passed in the late session rush. For now, I want to review the legislation that by some minor miracle didn’t make it to Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk, in spite of support from powerful interests.

All of these bills are likely to return in some form during the 2022 session, so don’t celebrate too soon. House Republicans were unable to pass a “water quality” bill backed by agricultural groups in 2017. But the Iowa Farm Bureau and its allies spent the interim chipping away at the GOP holdouts. The bill sailed through the House early in the 2018 session. The same scenario could play out with any of the proposals discussed below.

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Getting by on unemployment in Iowa during the pandemic

Lori Hunt is a Democrat from Polk County, a member of the Planned Parenthood Speakers Bureau, professional cat wrangler, writer, breadwinner, and bread baker. -promoted by Laura Belin

One of the first questions people ask when you meet someone is what do you do for a living? Where do you work?

If you are in between jobs or not quite at your desired one, you sigh, explain your circumstances, and give an elevator pitch as to how it happened and what you’re looking for. Our job is so tied into our identity and self worth. 

I was furloughed from my retail job at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was scheduled to start another job with the U.S. Census Bureau, but that got put on hold as well. In March, the warehouse called my manager at home and told her of the plans to temporarily shut down the store. She came over, locked up, and sent us home. 

In the rush to get out, I didn’t even grab my empty Tupperware and cheese in the fridge. We all figured we’d be back in a month. Not so likely.

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Upside Down week for Iowa Republicans in Congress

In the natural order of things, members of Congress brag about the federal assistance they fought to obtain for their constituents.

The Republicans who represent Iowa in the U.S. House and Senate turned that formula on its head this week. Every one cheered the news that tens of thousands of Iowans will soon lose the federal government support they depend on.

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