Last month, the United States economy added 266,000 jobs—falling far short of economists’ expectation of one million jobs. Axios reports this is “the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in decades.”
What explains the shortfall? Nebraska senator Ben Sasse is laying the blame on the decision by Congress and President Biden to continue to enhance unemployment benefits by $300 per week.
“We should be clear about the policy failure at work here: There are 7,400,000 jobs open in the US – but fewer than 300,000 people found new work last month,” Sasse says in a statement. “Why? This tragedy is what happens when Washington know-it-alls decide to pretend they’re generous by paying more for unemployment than for work. This obviously hurts our economy, but more precisely this hurts people on every Main Street in the nation.”
Sasse was one of a handful of Republican senators who sounded the alarm when the first COVID relief bill passed in March 2020 that making jobless benefits worth more than a job would have a negative impact on employment.
The first COVID relief bill, passed at the start of the pandemic, enhanced unemployment benefits by $600 per week. The COVID relief bill passed on a party-line vote by congressional Democrats in March 2021 included a $300-per-week bonus for unemployment benefits. The bonus is set to expire September 6.