CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto pressed Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on the low job numbers reflected in President Joe Biden’s recent jobs report.
“Let me ask you, this is the second month in a row where, it’s just not a good number – for the country, for the administration,” Sciutto said. “Why another miss here?”
Walsh said that it’s a “complex report” and blamed COVID for the low number. (RELATED: US Added Just 266,000 Jobs In April, Far Below Expectations)
“The rise in the delta variant absolutely had an impact in the restaurant, leisure, hospitality area,” he said.
He added that the administration needs to do “a little more work” in job sectors involving education, especially as schools reopen for in-person learning.
Sciutto asked Walsh how the administration plans to work on the jobs numbers, and Walsh said it’s a matter of working with the industries and making sure funds from the American Rescue Plan are allocated properly.
Sciutto asked if Walsh was concerned that there was a “structural issue” causing people to not take jobs that become available.
“What we’re seeing, I think in a lot of cases, is one, the pandemic is wreaking havoc and fear in people as far as going back to work,” Walsh responded. “I also think that lots of families and people are looking at their work-life balance and they’re changing careers or they want to change careers and they’re looking at that as well.”
“On the pandemic, if the pandemic, as you say, is principally to blame for this, what is the Biden administration’s plan to address that?” Sciutto asked.
Walsh cited Biden’s plan to deal with the pandemic that he announced in January and also blamed “certain parts of the country” that are less likely to get vaccinated or wear masks.