Scholar digs into why people with generous unemployment benefits take longer to find work

Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Business News

"People have more time to turn down jobs they don't want or get jobs that are a better fit," she said. "There's more to it than income. Someone might care how far they have to drive to work."

Based on surveys of more than 1,600 job seekers, the results held across all countries.

Job seekers who received comparatively less generous benefits got on top of the job search more quickly and found work.

But they also felt more time pressure, endured more financial strain and expressed a lower sense of well-being, the researchers found.

Among the three countries studied, the Netherlands has the most generous policy, providing 70% to 75% of gross earnings for a maximum of three years, depending on employment history.

Germany is in the middle, where individuals can collect at least 60% of net earnings (slightly more if there are dependent children) for up to a year.


In the United States, unemployment insurance is funded by a tax on employers. Those receiving benefits must be available and willing to work and they must prove that they're making an effort to find a job.

Job seekers typically receive up to 26 weeks of benefits at about 50% of their previous average weekly wage.

Most states cap the payments.

In Minnesota, the maximum pay is about $717 per week, according to the state Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).


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