During an interview aired on Thursday’s broadcast of CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that it’s difficult to tell if generous unemployment benefits are hurting labor market growth, but the main issue “is that a lot of the jobs that folks lost are the kinds of jobs” that “might not be coming back or might not be coming back in the same numbers.”
Raimondo said, “it’s so hard to tell in the data” whether unemployment benefits are slowing growth in the labor market.
She continued, “Still the biggest reason people aren’t going back to work is they’re afraid. They’re afraid of getting COVID. They’re not sure if the customers that they’ll be working with have been vaccinated. They can’t get child care. So, the unemployment benefits were always meant to be temporary. They were a vital lifeline for people. They were there when folks needed it. It’ll be gone, obviously, in the beginning of September. The real issue, I think, is that a lot of the jobs that folks lost are the kinds of jobs, let’s say, for example, in retail or services industries, that are — might not be coming back or might not be coming back in the same numbers. And so, what that means is, we have to lean into apprenticeships and job training and upscaling. Because the jobs that are being created in cybersecurity or in the digital economy or in the tech economy are there and are good-paying. We need to make sure that the folks who are unemployed have the skills that they need in order to get those jobs. And so, that is the continuous work that we, in the administration, are focused on.”
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