Biden touts drop in jobless claims after ending work disincentives as GOP long urged
There were 26 states that voluntarily ended the federal benefits over the summer in advance of Sept. 6 end date in Biden's American Rescue Plan Act.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
The White House is touting the drop in jobless claims as a "sign of progress" after belatedly ending the bonus $300 federal unemployment payments as Republicans — citing the benefits' disincentivizing effects — had long urged.
The enhanced jobless payments were continued through President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Many Republican governors attributed the labor shortage in the economy, particularly in restaurants and retail stores, to the added benefit on top of state jobless payments.
This prompted 26 states to voluntarily end the federal benefits over the summer in advance of the Sept. 6 end date in the American Rescue Plan Act.
A recent study found that Florida's economy, in particular, improved after Gov. Ron DeSantis ended the bonus benefits early.
The Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress did not take steps to end the payments before the deadline in the stimulus bill.
"My expectation is that, as our economy comes back, these companies will provide fair wages and safe work environments, and if they do they'll find plenty of workers," Biden said in May.
The bonus benefits formally expired in every state on Sept. 6.
The White House said on Thursday that the drop in unemployment claims, with the added federal bonus no longer in effect, is evidence of the economic recovering from the pandemic.
"Today, we learned that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment has fallen below 300,000 for the first time since the pandemic began — a drop of more than 60 percent since I took office, and the lowest weekly figure since March 14, 2020," Biden said in a statement on Thursday. "While this is just one week, the fact that the four-week average declined is yet another sign of progress."
Biden made a similar argument on Sept. 9 shortly after the extended jobless benefits ended in every state.
"This decline in unemployment claims is further evidence of a durable economic recovery," he said.
Inflation has hit a 13-year high and supply chain issues have plagued several industries. Biden announced this week that the port of Los Angeles will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as a result of delays in moving products.