A disappointing April jobs report following months of reported hiring struggles among businesses is fueling a Republican push to end enhanced unemployment aid programs extended by President BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE in March.
GOP governors and lawmakers are taking steps to scrap a $300 weekly boost to jobless benefits and other programs created at the onset of the pandemic that expanded aid to millions of unemployed Americans.
Republicans, who have long been critical of generous jobless benefits, are seizing on April’s lackluster employment gain as proof that pandemic-related programs are hindering what should be a booming recovery.
Critics of enhanced unemployment aid have grown increasingly alarmed about its potential impact on the recovery after businesses across the country reported trouble hiring workers.
While some unemployed workers may be receiving more money through jobless aid than the median wage in their state, many economists say that dynamic is not the only or even the main reason why businesses are having trouble finding applicants.
“The case that labor shortages are slowing jobs growth is stronger today than it was yesterday, however the jury is still out on how much enhanced unemployment benefits are a contributing factor,” Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, said in an email.
If not for the pandemic, we would have millions of unemployed workers competing for jobs that are in short supply,” Zhao added. .
Congressional attempts to end expanded jobless aid are destined for failure without clearer evidence that workers have been disincentivized from coming back.
But state autonomy over unemployment insurance means Republican governors can pull out of pandemic programs on their own, raising concerns among those who support generous benefits.