14 States Pay More In Unemployment Than Most Earn: $80,000

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Now hiring sign for the Tagwii recovery center for counselor and case manager. The Tagwii Recovery Center encompasses a treatment process that recognizes and accommodates the diversity among American Indian people. (Photo by: Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

At a glance

Amid an ongoing labor crisis, with businesses across the country continually struggling to fill open worker slots, two economists say part of the problem may stem from roughly a quarter of all U.S. states paying citizens sky-high unemployment benefits that sharply disincentivize working.

The writers — University of Chicago economics Professor Casey Mulligan and Heritage Foundation economics research fellow EJ Antoni — argue in the paper that in 14 states, “unemployment benefits and [Affordable Care Act] subsidies are the equivalent to a head of household earning $80,000 in salary, plus health insurance benefits.”

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