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Hiring Bonuses Show Real Potential to Bring Back America’s Workers

Hiring bonuses are an effective instrument to encourage more unemployed, Americans to return to work, new polling data released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows. The survey results reveal some of the most impactful and immediate solutions employers and elected officials can deploy in helping address the country’s deepening worker shortage crisis.

Nearly four in 10 (39%) unemployed Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic and are not actively looking for work say that a $1,000 hiring bonus would increase their urgency to return to full-time employment—the most commonly cited response. Other incentives or developments that would encourage unemployed Americans to re-enter the workforce include work-from-home flexibility (32%) and worker vaccination requirements (23%)

The percentage who say hiring bonuses could attract them back to the job market was particularly high among unemployed workers age 25-34 (53%) and those with some college education but not a degree (49%). The share was also relatively high among unemployed Americans in West (45%) and Midwest (44%) regions of the country.

unemployment poll

Recently, ten states—Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Virginia—have announced return-to-work-bonus offerings or similar financial incentives for workers to rejoin the labor force. Six of these states have Democratic governors, while four have Republican governors.