These states will pay you $2K to go back to work

Plus, the latest on the Oatly IPO

May 26, 2021 | Current events | Jobs
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“Now Hiring” — Everyone

If a $2K bonus gets you excited about returning to work, these states have done their jobs. Arizona, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma are among the 23 states that withdrew early from pandemic-era unemployment benefits to address the mounting labor shortage. In its place, they're offering a return-to-work perk in the form of cold, hard cash. Arizona is writing $1K one-time checks to job seekers who accept part-time positions and $2K to full-timers via its Back to Work program. New Hampshirites are looking at $500 (part-time) and $1K (full-time) payments thanks to the state's Summer Stipend Program. And residents of Montana and Oklahoma can expect $1,200 for landing full-time roles. If you live in either of these states, you'll want to read the fine print, as conditions apply for each of these programs. For example, workers will need to complete four to ten consecutive weeks of work to qualify, depending on the state. And the money is only available on a first-come, first-serve basis due to limited funding.

Lifting the enhanced federal benefits early could be risky. Some economists say larger unemployment payments aren’t the sole reason for the labor shortage. Lingering fears of Covid-19, the cost of child care, and online learning are additional factors creating job hesitancy and keeping workers away. One state striving to strike a balance between pandemic aid and work incentives is Connecticut. The state is offering $1K bonuses through its "Back to Work CT" program but will continue providing federal support until it expires in September.


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