Amid criticism that the Biden administration’s enhanced unemployment benefits are disincentivizing Americans to rejoin the workforce, President Joe Biden said that unemployment beneficiaries that are offered a “suitable” job must take it or they risk losing their financial benefits.
“If you’re receiving unemployment benefits and you’re offered a suitable job, you can’t refuse that job and just keep getting unemployment benefits,” Biden said on Monday.
“Our economic plan is working. I never said, and no serious analyst ever suggested, that climbing out of the deep, deep hole our economy is in would be simple, easy, immediate, or perfectly studied,” he added. “Some months will exceed expectations, others will fall short.”
Biden’s comments came just days after he dismissed claims that his administration’s enhanced unemployment benefits could be discouraging workers to take new jobs, despite job openings reaching near-record levels.
The latest job report from the Labor Department showed that U.S. employers added 266,000 jobs throughout April, while in March 770,000 jobs were added. The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate increased from 6% to 6.1%.
State leaders from Arkansas, Montana, and South Carolina have announced that they will be cutting Biden’s enhanced benefits, while other Republican-led states are expected to make similar moves.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron Desantis told reporters that Florida unemployment beneficiaries will soon need to provide proof that they are actively seeking work, a requirement that was temporarily put on hold during the pandemic.
“Normally when you’re getting unemployment, the whole idea is that’s temporary, and you need to be looking for work to be able to get off unemployment,” DeSantis said. “It was a disaster, so we suspended those job search requirements. I think it’s pretty clear now, we have an abundance of job openings.”
“The demand is there. Businesses want to hire more people, and I think we can go in that direction very soon,” he added.