Job openings across the country hit a record high as the Biden administration continues to pay extra unemployment benefits to Americans.
Available jobs climbed above pre-pandemic levels and nearly 1 million unfilled positions were added in May bringing the total number of job openings to 9.3 million, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Labor Department numbers released Tuesday.
This number is the highest level on record since 2000.
The number of open positions almost matches the 9.8 million unemployed Americans who should be looking for a job.
However, many analysts have said the added federal unemployment benefits are incentivizing people to stay home.
The average state unemployment benefit is about $330 per week, but Americans are receiving about $630 because of the federal supplement, according to a Fox News article from June 2 reporting that some states had planned to stop the extra payments soon.
Annually, the Americans collecting unemployment benefits with the federal supplement could bring in about $32,000 a year, which is double the nation’s minimum wage.
President Joe Biden and Democrats have rejected claims that Americans are choosing to stay home and collect the extra unemployment benefits instead of returning to work.
“We don’t see much evidence of that,” Biden said in May. “Americans want to work.”
He added that he would enforce unemployment insurance laws so potential workers can’t game the system.
“We’re going to make it clear to anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job they must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits,” he said.
At least 25 states have decided to cut off the extra aid earlier than its original expiration of Sept. 6, according to Fox.
“It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, wrote in a May 10 Twitter post.
It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled. pic.twitter.com/PHGU27c9Mj
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) May 10, 2021
There has been a strong surge in demand for restaurant, hotel and other service-sector workers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
May’s job market gains were led by advertisements for jobs in food service, hospitality and tourism and loading and stocking — due to online shopping.
“The unprecedented surge in demand means that the outlook for job seekers right now is relatively bright,” Nick Bunker, economic research director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab, wrote on Tuesday.
“Given the tightness of the labor market, employees and job seekers may have a stronger hand right now.”
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