Ryan Cooper, The Week

[It’s a bit surprising how little unrest flowed from the decision to end pandemic unemployment benefits. Close to 8 million people were getting them one week, and then not the next. Cooper asks the question: what was this cruelty meant to achieve? Is it working? The answers are illuminating. — Progressive Hub]

Last month, the pandemic unemployment benefits — what I’ve been calling super-unemployment — expired, with the support of both Republican governors and the Biden administration. The thinking, at least in part, was that this would help push workers into new jobs: Too many Americans had gotten fat and lazy living off unemployment benefits, and it was time to starve them into the labor market.

Today, the September jobs report came in, and that thinking has been proved wrong. Just 194,000 jobs were created last month — as compared to hopeful economist predictions of 720,000. As Matt Bruenig writes at the People’s Policy Project, “This was the worst month of job growth since Biden became president and the second-worst since May of last year when the pandemic labor market recovery began.” America is still about 5 million jobs short of the pre-pandemic total. At this rate, it will be around December 2023 before that gap is closed. Starving people into jobs isn’t working.

The end of expanded UI
Credit: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=387542
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