On Friday, the April jobs report came out. It was providential timing for the Biden administration, since it meant some truly horrendous employment numbers were only in the news cycle for a day before the weekend hit.
According to Axios, the economy added 266,000 jobs last month, a mere 800,000 less than economists had been predicting — the largest single miss in decades. Unemployment ticked up to 6.1 percent, and March’s job report was revised lower, too.
Speaking at a news conference later on Friday, the president expressly denied that enhanced federal unemployment benefits had anything to do with it.
“No, nothing measurable,” Biden said, according to National Review.
“I know some employers are having trouble filling jobs but what this report shows is that there is a much bigger problem … it’s that our economy still has 8 million fewer jobs than when this pandemic started. The data shows that more workers are looking for jobs and many can’t find them.”
That might still be an issue, but so are the perverse incentives of a continued unemployment benefits scheme where people are paid double the minimum wage to remain jobless.
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“That nearly tripled to $938 in April 2020, when [then-President Donald] Trump passed COBRA – a temporary economic plan that boosted weekly unemployment payments by $600 and also gave employed people one-off stimulus checks,” the Mail reported. “COBRA expired in July and the unemployment boost was halved to $300-a-week. Now, they are $638-a-week on average and they’ll stay that way until September 6 at least.”
“It means, someone who was working 40 hours a week before the pandemic now gets nearly $16-an-hour to do nothing at home, which is more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.”
The president’s American Rescue Plan extended them to Sept. 6 — and if Biden has his way, one assumes he could potentially extend them further. Yet, as the Daily Mail noted, a Bank of America estimate found that anyone making $32,000 or less would be better off staying unemployed than going back to work.
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