On Monday, President Joe Biden promised to enforce unemployment insurance laws that would mean no American can “game the system” and be paid not to work. However, he also said that better unemployment benefits are not to blame for April’s lackluster jobs report.
During his remarks from the East Room, the president clarified that those collecting unemployment benefits who receive a suitable job must take the job or they would lose the said benefits.
As per Biden, his administration is putting effort into what can make it easier for employers to find workers. Such steps include accelerating aid for struggling child care providers and extending reemployment services of states. It also includes starting to distribute $350 billion in aid to state and local government as part of the COVID-19 relief law passed earlier this year.
However, Biden did not approve of a recent push made by Republicans, in which they want to end or severely curtail the extension of the $300-a-week unemployment benefit. The said extension was included in the recent American Rescue Plan.
Biden said his administration will insist for the law to be followed. However, he also mentioned that they would not turn their backs on the people in the country. He noted that 22 million people have become unemployed during the pandemic. To them, the benefits serve as “a lifeline.”
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On Friday, the Labor Department released a report, saying that employers only added 266,000 jobs last month. This falls far below the 1-million forecast made by most economists.
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Many Republican lawmakers quickly blamed the jobless aid for this downside miss. For one, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas accused the current administration of “sabotaging” the recovery of America.
According to experts, there are multiple explanations why some unemployed Americans are reticent about returning to work.
One of them is that many parents currently struggle to find child care while schools are still closed. Others say they are reluctant to return to their jobs as they are worried they’ll catch COVID-19.
According to recent estimates by a Bank of America analyst, around 4.6 million workers left the labor force during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only half of that number is expected to have jobs again at the end of the year. The analyst also noted that it might be more financially lucrative to collect government benefits for those earning below $32,000 annually.
The bank also forecasts that 2.5 million Americans will rejoin the labor force by fall. However, the other 2.1 million people might go back to work at a later time or never return to the workforce at all.