Businesses Struggle to Lure Workers Away From Unemployment


Businesses looking for a quick return to normal are running into a big hitch: Workers on unemployment benefits are reluctant to give them up. That’s complicating plans to reopen states and get the U.S. economy back on track.

For some workers, unemployment benefits are now paying more than their old jobs did. For others, safety concerns or a lack of child care, as most schools and day-care centers remain closed, are making them hesitant to go back.

That means reopening may not go as quickly or as smoothly as some elected officials and business owners had hoped.

Friday’s jobs report showed that U.S. employers cut 20.5 million jobs in April, or nearly all of the 22 million jobs added in the past decade.

The longer it takes to recover that lost employment, the more extended the economic downturn caused by the pandemic will be.

“That’s going to get in the way of any real recovery,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Ilona Luce-Fina, who was laid off from her job as a bartender at the airport in Ithaca, N.Y., said she hopes her boss doesn’t call her back too soon.

“I was crying at work to leave, but then as time went on and I did receive benefits, it was like, wow, I’m getting more than when I worked there,” Ms. Luce-Fina said. – READ MORE

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