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Weekend Roundup: Rising Unemployment, Time-to-Hire, and Vaccine Incentives

The “new normal” in the fight against COVID-19 is leading to some new challenges and opportunities for employers in the U.S. In today’s Weekend Roundup, we explore a potential new peak in long-term unemployment, the lengthier decision-making periods this affords businesses that are hiring, and the incentives some employers are considering to get their workforce vaccinated and immune from the virus.

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Long-Term Unemployment Rises Toward Historic Peak

Long-term unemployment continues to mount one year after the coronavirus pandemic was declared a public health emergency in the United States.

While over 12 million jobs have returned since the stark labor market reaction to the health crisis in April 2020, over 4 million people actively looking for employment have been out of work for at least six months—categorized as long-term unemployment by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Robert Half: Coronavirus Lengthens Time-to-hire

Companies are taking more time to hire job seekers “in the current environment,” according to the February 10 results of a survey by global staffing firm Robert Half. A third of employer respondents said they are taking more time to make a hiring decision, even though they have access to a broader talent pool.

The change may create backlash for some employers; job seekers tended to say they lose interest in a position after waiting two weeks to hear back from an employer after an initial interview.

How Five Employers are Incentivizing the Coronavirus Vaccine

As vaccines become available, employers are beginning to roll out incentives to entice workers to receive them. Retailers, grocers and manufacturers alike have announced benefits ranging from paid time off to cash awards.

The strategy makes sense; polls have indicated that many U.S. workers are hesitant to roll up their sleeves. A recent Morning Consult survey of more than 16,000 employed U.S. adults found that 56 percent of respondents said they would be willing to receive a vaccine. In the final week of the survey, that figure rose to 61 percent.

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