It’s time that Ohioans get back to work
Ohio is among eight states reinstating the requirement that people who are collecting unemployment benefits must seek work to qualify.
The Associated Press this week spoke to some employers in those states who say they are hoping the new rule will help them to hire enough staff to get their businesses back to normal.
It seems that’s a challenge these days.
That’s why we, too, are hopeful the new work-search rule will be helpful in getting unemployed members of the labor force back to work and getting businesses that have been struggling to keep their doors open due to staffing reasons up and running.
After more than a year of coronavirus restrictions, businesses now are expecting and hoping for a breakout summer. But only if they have enough workers.
Businesses in the Mahoning Valley have been offering higher-than-usual wages and other perks like signing bonuses in their attempts to get people hired.
Some believe increased unemployment benefits and even federal government stimulus checks might have worked against those trying to lure workers back. Easy benefits that followed the pandemic include what is now a $300-a-week supplemental federal payment on top of state benefits. The argument is that people make more money staying home than going back to work.
One employer interviewed by The Associated Press said this: “We’ve been getting many excuses as to why not to return. … Obviously, it was a legitimate one with COVID, but, you know, I think that’s getting used less and less now. The vaccines are free; they are out there for anyone.”
Other local employers have been telling our newspaper’s business writer similar stories. Fourteen months after COVID-19 put hundreds of thousands of people out of work, the U.S. economy finally appears to be rebounding, but now employers are desperate to find workers.
The challenge was highlighted Friday when employers nationwide added 266,000 jobs, far fewer than expected, and businesses reported they couldn’t find people to fill the openings they have to keep up with the rapidly strengthening economic rebound.
That’s why we are hopeful to see states like Ohio now encouraging people to return to work by making it harder for people to stay on unemployment.
In addition to Ohio, states reinstating the work-search requirement include Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Vermont. Lawmakers also are advancing work-search legislation in neighboring Pennsylvania.
These states now will require those receiving unemployment benefits to show they are actively searching for work, and even a few states say they will stop providing the additional federal supplement.
Unemployment benefits exist to serve as a stop gap, assisting people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own get by until they can land new employment.
It’s never been intended to keep people out of work when jobs exist that need to be filled.
As former President Ronald Reagan once said, “I believe the best social program is a job.”
The statement still rings true today.
All Ohioans must take seriously their responsibility to seek employment by pursuing all opportunities, and Ohio must take steps to verify the unemployed are doing just that.
Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
James 1:18 NKJV