(Headline USA) After denying on Monday that increased federal coronavirus relief was a contributing factor to a nationwide labor shortage, President Joe Biden warned that Americans who turn down a “suitable job” could lose their benefits.
A devastating Friday jobs report found that only 266,000 jobs were created in the past few months and that the unemployment rate rose from 6% to 6.1%.
Biden insisted that the shocking numbers were not his administration’s fault and claimed the coronavirus relief package the Democratic Party pushed through Congress had no effect on the numbers.
“Let’s be clear, our economic plan is working,” Biden said on Monday. “I never said and no serious analysis ever suggested that climbing out of the deep deep hole that our economy was in would be simple, easy, immediate or perfectly studied.”
“We don’t see much evidence” of people being paid to stay home rather than go to work, Biden continued.
“It’s easy to say, the line has been, because of the generous unemployment benefits that is a major factor in labor shortages. Americans want to work,” Biden said. “I think the people who claim Americans won’t work even if they find a good and fair opportunity underestimate the American people.”
But during the same speech, Biden connected unemployment to federal benefits, telling unemployed Americans that they need to accept suitable jobs instead of relying on coronavirus relief.
“Anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits,” he added.
Several states have already taken action to cut federal unemployment benefits in order to boost employment numbers.
South Carolina and Montana announced earlier this month that federal benefits would end for residents in their states, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said all unemployment benefits applicants must prove they have submitted job applications.