The $1.9 trillion, partisan COVID-19-relief package was supposed to boost the economy, but it may have stifled it instead.
Article by Christian Mysliwiec from Daily Signal.
With widespread reopenings, 46% of Americans having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, and another round of “stimulus” checks boosting Americans’ bank accounts, expectations were high for job gains to exceed 1 million in April.
Yet, employment growth fizzled, with only 266,000 jobs added, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.1%.
When asked if the easily accessible federal unemployment benefits—including a $300 bonus on top of state benefits—had any impact on the weak jobs report, President Joe Biden replied, “No, nothing measurable.”
While the jobs report data isn’t structured to specifically detect whether or not workers are turning down job opportunities because of expanded unemployment benefits, another set of data—the Job Openings and Labor Turnover, or JOLTS survey—provides a compelling case that federal unemployment benefits are hurting the economy.
The most recent data shows a record high 8.1 million job openings alongside a record high 5.3% job openings rate (the job openings rate equals the number of job openings as a percentage of jobs available, including total employment plus job openings).
Usually, high job openings are associated with low unemployment rates. Prior to COVID-19, job openings rates of 4% or higher were associated with an average 4% unemployment rate. Now, the job openings rate has exceeded 4% for 10 straight months as the unemployment rate has averaged 7.6%.
There are now 2.8 million more job openings now than there were the last time the economy had a similar 6.1% unemployment rate (in 2014).
The quits rate—an indicator of workers’ confidence in obtaining other jobs by voluntarily quitting their current jobs—has returned to its pre-pandemic level. Quit rates and unemployment rates are normally inversely related; higher unemployment rates mean fewer job opportunities, and thus fewer people deciding to quit their current jobs. But today, high quit rates exist alongside relatively high unemployment.
Since June 2020, the quit rate has averaged 2.3% even as the unemployment rate has averaged 7.6%. Prior to the pandemic, quit rates of 2.3% or higher were associated with an average unemployment rate of 3.7%.
With the strong demand for more workers, employers are also laying off fewer of their current employees. The data showed yet another record, with only 1.5 million layoffs or separations in March, marking the lowest level on record.
High unemployment alongside high job openings, high quits, and low layoffs is counterintuitive, and indicates an external variable must be at play.
That external variable is almost certainly the federal unemployment benefit.
The demand for a strong recovery is high, as indicated by a record-high of 8.1 million job openings and a $2.2 trillion increase in personal savings over the past year. But the supply of workers needed to fuel the recovery is weak.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t directly ask employers if generous federal unemployment benefits are causing a shortage in the supply of workers, anecdotal evidence builds a compelling case.
Restaurants say they can’t get enough workers to operate at full capacity, leading to actions like Chipotle offering free college tuition, Jimmy Johns offering signing bonuses, one McDonalds paying people $50 to show up for an interview, and Taco Bell providing paid family leave to managers.
Customers at restaurants are seeing signs apologizing for longer waits due to short staff—some even directly faulting the federal unemployment benefits.
It’s not just restaurants facing workforce shortages, however. An upstate New York dairy farmer I spoke with said his biggest challenge since the pandemic has been recruiting enough workers. He’s offering $22 per hour, and workers are turning it down because unemployment benefits are more appealing.
Even the freelancers and contractors can be harder to come by as the expanded benefits allow these workers to collect benefits if they work less than before. This expansion in benefits to freelance workers who don’t pay into the system is part of the reason that there were 16.7 million total unemployment insurance claims compared to 9.8 million unemployed workers in April.
Both the data and on-the-ground reports show that federal unemployment benefits are hurting the recovery.
Some governors are taking action now to help small businesses and to promote a stronger recovery by ending the federal unemployment bonus payments. Just since last week, the governors of Montana, South Carolina, and Arkansas have all announced that their states will no longer be delivering the $300 bonus payments beginning in June.
Governors that want to show employers they are open for business and also minimize the consequences of excessive unemployment—such as reduced economic output, increased taxpayer costs, and worse future well-being for the long-term unemployed—should end the federal unemployment insurance bonuses.
Instead, they should focus on allowing society to safely resume activities. This is the best way to ensure a healthy amount of job opportunities—and people able and interested in taking advantage of them.
‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are on track to be short by about $4100 per month in order to maintain operations.
The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. We had 5,657,724 sessions on our website from November, 2020, through February, 2021. Our intention is to elevate that to higher levels this year by focusing on a strategy that relies on free speech rather than being beholden to progressive Big Tech companies.
During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report going.
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