Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo claimed that unemployment benefits in the American Rescue Plan are not the reason for the United States’ poor jobs report.
“There is nothing in the data which would suggest that [unemployment insurance] is the reason people are out of work,” Raimondo told CBS’ “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.
“This unemployment insurance has been a lifeline, a survival lifeline for so many Americans. The number one reason now that people aren’t going back to work is fear or they can’t find childcare or schools are closed. We will monitor as necessary, but right now we don’t think that is the reason people can’t go back to work,” Raimondo continued.
Dickerson pushed back, noting that Montana and South Carolina declined the unemployment benefits due to concerns about how they would impact jobs and economic growth. “A lot of people think this is an impediment to getting people” back to work. “There is some evidence,” he said.
Raimondo then claimed that unemployment due to benefits collection is solely a “regional” problem. “It’s appropriate that governors in different regions would respond to what’s going on in their labor market,” she allowed.
The United States added only 266,000 jobs in April, well below the Biden administration’s projections. The unemployment rate rose slightly, to 6.1%. (RELATED: The April Jobs Numbers Were So Bad That CNBC’s Steve Liesman Thought It Was A Typo)
Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari later agreed that unemployment benefits are discouraging people from going back to work.
“There is some truth to the unemployment benefits being a disincentive. That is in the data and anecdotes as we talked to people,” he said.