President Joe Biden has not decided if he will extend a $300 weekly unemployment insurance supplement or not, though businesses are complaining about a labor shortage resulting from that policy.
According to the New York Post, critics have said that the supplement gives low-wage workers a disincentive to return to work.
However, answering reporters on Friday, Aug. 6, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the administration remains open to extending the federal unemployment benefit bonus.
“At this point they’re expiring at the beginning of September. Nothing has changed on that front. But a final decision has not been made,” Psaki said, adding that President Biden “hasn’t made a decision to extend it, he also hasn’t made a decision not to.”
In March, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill which extends a $300 weekly unemployment supplement through Sept. 6.
At the daily press conference, a reporter suggested that a surprisingly strong monthly jobs-growth report released on Friday resulted from 26 states, including Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Georgia, cutting off the unemployment benefits supplement early, but Psaki denied it.
“We don’t see any evidence in the available data that some states ending unemployment benefits early had any impact on today’s incredibly strong numbers,” Psaki said. “We are seeing strength across the economy across states and regions of course. But that’s thanks to a number of investments that have helped get people through this difficult time and get them back to work.”
According to the Labor Department’s report, the U.S. economy created 943,000 new jobs in July, the highest number since August 2020. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.4% from 5.9% in June.
Psaki said that widespread vaccination against COVID-19 is the reason for the upbeat economic data.