* This seems like a pretty good walk-back…
State Sen. Bill Brady, a Republican candidate for governor, said Wednesday his comments about some people not wanting to return to manufacturing jobs because they were enjoying their unemployment insurance were insensitive.
“I think it was insensitive that I didn’t take into consideration there are a number of people out there looking for jobs who don’t want to be on unemployment,” Brady, of Bloomington, told the editorial board of The State Journal-Register. […]
At a forum Tuesday in Naperville, Brady said that the “No. 1 issue I run into when I travel around to manufacturing plants particularly” is that employers say, “‘I can’t hire my people back.’ They say, ‘They’re enjoying … their unemployment insurance,’” Chicago-based public radio station WBEZ-FM reported. “So we’ve got to motivate people to get back into the workforce.” […]
Brady said Wednesday that he was “talking to a group of manufacturers, some of which in the group had said this to me along different travels in the state.”
“We need to take care of people who are dealing with the difficulty of job displacement and help them get onto a path, but we have to make sure they continue to be motivated to find gainful employment,” he said.
The average unemployment benefit is $300 a week.
*** UPDATE *** Eric Zorn asked Illinois Manufacturer’s Association COO Mark Denzler about this…
Senator Brady was correct that the Illinois’ Average Weekly Wage is 9th highest in the nation. According to the US Department of Labor (first quarter, 2012), Illinois’ AWW was $322.44. In comparison, other states are Wisconsin at $277.80 (31st), Missouri at $239.21 (43rd), and Indiana at $302.60 (21st). Hawaii is the top at $424.61.
Additionally, he was correct in noting that Illinois’ duration of benefits at 18.8 weeks is the 9th highest in the country. Other states are Indiana at 14.4 weeks (44th), Wisconsin at 16 weeks (27th), and Missouri at 16.5 weeks (24th). Delaware is the top at 21.7 weeks.
We do hear from manufacturers that they have a hard time finding employees and some have noted problems with UI. With extended UI benefits, some workers choose to delay the start of a job search which limits the pool of applicants. For example, if a worker is eligible for 26 weeks of unemployment, they may wait until week 16 or 18 to begin a job search rather than looking immediately.
I personally know of an individual (acquaintance) in Decatur who has turned down three separate manufacturing jobs in the last three months. He lost his job and has been called for manufacturing jobs that pay $13-15 per hour. I was with him on one occasion when he got the call from the temp agency. He indicated that after taxes, paying the cost of fuel (job was 20 miles away), and working the 2nd shift, he would rather stay on unemployment because it was essentially a wash.