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US Chamber Of Commerce Calls For End Of Boosted Unemployment

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling on Capitol Hill to pull the plug on enhanced unemployment benefits enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Friday (May 7).

The additional $300 weekly paid to those unemployed could be stopping people from seeking employment, said the Chamber per the AP article. Roughly one in four Americans are getting more money from unemployment benefits than they would have if they were working.

“The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market,” said Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer. “We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our workforce issues and the very real threat unfilled positions pose to our economic recovery from the pandemic.”

The chamber’s statement comes after weak job data in April that showed only 266,000 jobs were added, a far cry from the 1 million that was expected by economists.

Although businesses in the country have added jobs since January, some employers are frustrated that there seems to be a shortage of workers despite high unemployment numbers. The unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in April, up from 6 percent in March.

Aside from the monetary incentive from unemployment over wages, some workers have also said they are avoiding returning to the workplace because of coronavirus fears or the stress of juggling work with children at home instead of at school.

The Federal Reserve said on Thursday (May 6) that the pandemic is the biggest risk to the U.S. financial system. If the pandemic lingers beyond what is expected, the country could face steep declines in asset prices and household finances.

The latest jobs report showed that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in April, with continued recovery seen in the leisure and hospitality sector. New jobless claims for the week ending May 1 were at the lowest level — 498,000 — since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.

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