May’s solidly meh jobs report

“Many Republicans and business groups insist that generous unemployment insurance is a major hindrance to the recovery, arguing that people are sitting out of the workforce because they’re making more money staying home and collecting the extra $300 a week in pandemic benefits put in place by Congress. Half of states, all Republican-led, have decided to shut off unemployment benefits early over the coming weeks. They all made that decision before the May jobs report, a move that even JPMorgan’s economists said was political, not economic.

The evidence suggests that extra unemployment might deter a small sliver of workers but not the vast majority. A working paper out of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco estimated that if seven of 28 workers receive job offers they would normally accept in the early months of this year, just one would say no in order to hold on to the $300.”

“There are plenty of other factors influencing work right now: People are still nervous about the virus, parents lack access to child care, or people are waiting to see if they can get a job at their skill level. A massage therapist who shut down her business at the start of the pandemictold meshe doesn’t want to work for minimum wage at McDonald’s; she wants to reopen her business.”

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