Is Labor Sec. right extended benefits end not correlated with 'great' jobs report?
- On Friday, August 6, 2021, US Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh, stated on Fox News that ending extended unemployment benefits was not consistent with the “great” July jobs report. commenting on the July 2021 Employment Situation Report, that “The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the American economy added 943,000 jobs in the month of July, and the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, down from 5.9 percent in June.”
- Under the American Rescue Plan, unemployment benefits are set to expire on September 6, 2021, but 25 states have already canceled the $300 benefits between June and July: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
- With the June jobs report, Walsh predicted Americans would return to work with increased vaccinations, crediting President Biden’s economic plan for progress.
Following the spectacular jobs reports, the Chamber of Commerce released a statement calling for the end of the hundred dollars a week payments for unemployed Americans, claiming falsely that this meager amount is keeping otherwise would-be employed people on the sidelines. The fact is that while there are many open jobs available, they're just not good enough to attract talent. For years, Restaurant owners have benefited from inadequate hourly rates and are leading the campaign now for ending these payments. These business people expect workers to line up for jobs that only guarantee $2.13 an hour and expose them to hazardous conditions with the spread of COVID's Delta variant. Many Americans are simply saying this isn't a good enough bargain. This is the real explanation behind the jobs report.
Ending these desperately needed assistance payments and forcing individuals to take low-paying and demeaning work is equivalent to forcing them into slavery. Employers should offer safe conditions and a living wage, not expect the government to take away options. Despite these often sub-par working conditions, two-thirds of the job gains in this report were in the food and beverage sector, proving the unemployment payments are not keeping these positions unfilled.
Secretary Walsh correctly pointed out that access to affordable and consistent child care remains the biggest obstacle for many to reenter the job market. With many schools learning remotely at least part-time and other childcare facilities closed, many families simply do not have someone to look after their children if parents return to work.
Without extended benefits, unemployed Americans will seek work opportunities once again instead of avoiding them by living off unemployment indefinitely. It's natural for most people to take the easy way out--why work if you don't have to? So extended unemployment benefits gave many people the opportunity to take time off work and continue to make money, some making more than they would have at work. Obviously, most people in this situation would be upset these benefits were ending, but ending benefits will get them back to work or seeking work.
The pandemic left many people without the ability to work safely, and turning to unemployment was, for many people, the only option. Now that the pandemic is coming to an end, discontinuing extra COVID-related unemployment benefits gives Americans the push they need to return to work. In August of 2020 is when the unemployment benefits that started with the COVID-19 pandemic were extended. The most recent jobs report is the country's best since August of 2020, when the unemployment benefits were extended. Clearly, this extra unemployment and other COVID relief benefits incentivized many Americans not to work. This jobs report is a reflection of their return to work.
The Labor Sec. said himself that the jobs report was 'good' and 'solid.' So why would he ignore the clear cause of the spike in job gains? It's not a coincidence that this 'great' report comes right as 25 states are ending benefits—there's a clear correlation between the two. To say there isn't is only an attempt to extend unemployment benefits again so Americans can sit at home rather than getting back to work.