How to fix April’s unfortunate jobs report?
No problem, said Joe Biden of the dismal April jobs report. And if the expanded payments are slowing the jobs recovery, well, we’ll just spend more.
“There’s been a lot of discussion since Friday’s report that people are being paid to stay home rather than go to work,” allowed Mr. Biden.
“That’s an understatement,” writes the WSJ.
Employers nationwide have complained for months that Washington’s $300-a-week bonus has made it harder to find willing workers. Yet Mr. Biden brushed aside the complaints, saying he and his staff “don’t see much evidence” that the payments are a “major factor.”
The perverse incentive of the bonus is clear, and the evidence goes beyond the anecdotes from tens of thousands of employers. The 266,000 net new jobs in April far undershot economists’ forecasts, and the Labor Department’s latest Jolts survey showed some 7.4 million unfilled positions.
Bank of America economist Joseph Song notes that any worker earning less than $32,000 annually would get a raise by going on unemployment, according to a Fox Business report.
Mr. Biden could reduce the self-inflicted damage by asking Congress to repeal the bonus, which is available through Labor Day. Instead he assured employers that more government aid is the key to more rapid hiring.
“People will come back to work if they’re paid a decent wage,” assured Mr. Biden, despite (1) a 3.9% increase in real average wages from March 2020 to 2021, (2) hiring bonuses that employers are now offering to lure workers off the couch, as reported by the WSJ.
The President intended his remarks to depict his Administration as the driver of job growth instead of its main hindrance. It was a tall order.
But the bright side is that his urgent appearance showed that more Americans are figuring out that when the government pays people not to work, millions choose not to.
Read about America’s worker shortage here.
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