New research conducted by The University of Minnesota and published in the Journal of Applied Psychology has researched the perception of unemployment benefits and their effect upon the job search, mental health and reemployment of individuals.

Three countries were examined with different levels of unemployment benefits. In order from least generous to most generous, they were The United States, Germany and The Netherlands. According to the lead author of the study, Connie Wanberg “What we found is that the perception of time by job seekers plays a critical role. Depending on how much a person’s unemployment benefits are and for how long they last, it impacts how a job seeker thinks about time and when they begin their job search.”

It was concluded that the less generous the unemployment benefits, the quicker the individuals began working. More generous unemployment benefits were associated with a job seeker finding higher quality employment that is more in line with what they wanted. Wanger mentioned that “They have less financial strain, so they didn’t spend as much time getting their resume done quickly. They didn’t submit job applications as quickly. They weren’t networking as quickly.”

It was also reported that individuals receiving less generous unemployment benefits reported less favorable mental health. According to Wanberg “For a job seeker who receives less benefits, they reported feeling a more significant time pressure to find a job due to increased financial strain. On one hand, they began working more quickly. On the other, they reported poorer mental health conditions and were less likely to find a suitable job that fit their needs.”

The study is published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and can be accessed here on the American Psychological Associations website: