Did Ending the CARES Act Spike Employment?
There's been some debate as to the effect ending Pandemic Unemployment benefits had on job seeking and employment. From what I've seen, it appears to have little effect in general, although I'm sure there are some people in the workforce who had either the ability or the desire to milk the benefits to the end.
However, for the most part, it doesn't seem to have had much an effect. It appears COVID ruled the employment situation, up AND down, as it faded and then came back again in the form of the Delta variant.
For one, some of the biggest employment gains took place while both the PUA program and supplemental state emergency programs were still in place. A staggering 916,000 jobs were created in March 2021.
Over two dozen states ended their programs two months before the main Federal program expired, in the belief that it was deterring people from re-entering the workforce. It appears to have had little effect on the jobs picture for those states that did.
The reason for the lack of employment take up was the fact that the Delta surge was in full swing.
The Delta variant took a toll on leisure, travel and hospitality industries and the "on again-off again" nature of the COVID crisis hobbled the ability of the recovering economy to find its feet. No doubt more color will be forthcoming on this matter as data gets clarified, but as things stand now, most people clearly prefer the security, not to mention the higher income and the benefits that come with a job. The issue seems to have been boiled down to a litmus test about people's attitudes towards labor, and little else.