Chamber of Commerce calls for ending $300 federal unemployment benefit after disappointing jobs report

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to end the $300 boost in unemployment aid to encourage workers to return to work in response to Friday's weak employment report.

The April jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the economy is adding far fewer jobs than expected, and unemployment rose slightly to 6.1%. This indicates the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is occurring a little slower than hoped.

“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 of Commerce's head of policy.

For the first few months of 2021, those receiving unemployment benefits got an extra $300 a week from the federal government on top of what their state already provided. The average person also receives $387 in state weekly unemployment payments, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, for a total of approximately $687 every week in aid between the federal and state benefits.

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“One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit. Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working,” said Bradley.

For many months during the pandemic, Democrats and Republicans debated the appropriate amount of unemployment aid. Democrats said that higher jobless benefits were needed to help sidelined workers pay bills and boost the economy as the pandemic has forced people to stay home, while Republicans have argued higher unemployment benefits discourage people from returning to their jobs.

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“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,” Bradley said.





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