Biden says unemployed offered jobs must take them or lose benefits

Elias Hubbard
May 11, 2021

"We can't let up, this jobs report makes that clear".

The president delivered remarks on the economy Monday at the White House after a Friday jobs report stunned economists who had predicted the USA economy would add almost 1 million jobs in April, only to find out only 266,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate actually rose from 6% to 6.1%.

Biden also laid out a few actions his administration was taking Monday to further spur job growth across the country: He said the White House was opening a portal so local and state governments could apply for federal stimulus funds, said that the first round of checks were being sent out for small business restaurant and bar owners who applied for stimulus last week and said that his administration would be sending funds to states so that childcare centers could reopen. "I never said - and no serious analyst ever suggested - that climbing out of the deep, deep hole our economy is in would be simple, easy, immediate or perfectly studied", Biden said.

While the pandemic and the economy have dominated Biden's early months in office, other significant issues loom.

Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blamed the lackluster jobs numbers on the $300-per-week unemployment insurance benefits generously offered in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed in March.

"This is a stunning economic setback", Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, wrote in a Friday tweet after the report came out.

Brady leads the minority vote on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

On Monday, Mr Biden said he was directing the US Department of Labor to work with states to reinstate requirements that those receiving unemployment benefits must show they are actively seeking work.

"Democrats are paying 4 in 10 jobless more to stay home than to return to work".

"My expectation is that as the economy comes back, these companies will provide fair wages and safe work environments, and if they do, they'll find plenty of workers. Businesses want to hire more people, and I think we can go in that direction very soon", he added.

"No one should be allowed to game the system".

Mr Biden said any unemployed American offered a "suitable" job must take it, or risk losing unemployment benefits. He placed the blame for the sluggish state of the national economy on his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who Biden said "bungled" his handling of the virus and its fallout.

Almost 40 percent of workers could make more on unemployment at the $300 level than they would earn by returning to work, according to American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute.

The slowdown was attributed to a multitude of factors, including almost 3 million people reluctant to look for work because they fear catching the virus. "They lost their jobs to a virus, and to a government that bungled its response to the crisis and failed to protect them", Biden said.

"On the whole, the Biden Administration is moving to return UI slowly like the rest of the economy to its" pre-pandemic rules, Andrew Stettner, an unemployment expert at the Century Foundation, said in emailed comments to Insider.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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