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Wednesday, 11 August 2021 17:14

More Jobs Available Than Workers as Debate Over Unemployment Benefits Continues

Written by Casey Harper, The Center Square
A help wanted sign hangs in a shop window May 16 in New Orleans. A help wanted sign hangs in a shop window May 16 in New Orleans. Scott Colesby/Shutterstock

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More than 10 million jobs are available in the U.S. despite widespread unemployment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Aug. 10.

The report comes as Republicans and Democrats debate ongoing federal unemployment payments---in addition to state benefits---and what impact they have on Americans’ willingness to return to work.

 

The federal data showed a major boost in job availabilities for the month of June.

 

“On the last business day of June, the job openings level increased to a series high of 10.1 million (+590,000),” the BLS said. “The job openings rate rose to 6.5%. Job openings increased in several industries, with the largest increases in professional and business services (+227,000); retail trade (+133,000); and accommodation and food services (+121,000). The number of job openings increased in the South region.”

 

Roughly 9.5 million Americans were unemployed in June. That number decreased to fewer than 9 million Americans in July, still well above pre-pandemic levels. 

 

"The unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 5.4% in July, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 782,000 to 8.7 million," BLS said. "These measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession."

 

Part of the problem comes from job openings in industries that do not match unemployed individuals' previous career, some analysts say, or a job opening that is not in their area. For example, hospitality job openings will not appeal to someone hoping to return to the lumber industry, and a job opening in Atlanta does not help someone who lives in rural Georgia, unless they are willing to relocate.

 

Republicans, though, have been pointing for months to a different source of ongoing unemployment despite widespread job availability. They argue $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits, when added to the already existent state benefits, are making it more advantageous for regular Americans to stay home than to reenter the workforce.

 

In a Morning Consult survey from July, 1.8 million unemployed Americans said...


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