Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says small business owners are telling him they are unable to find enough workers to fill open positions.
Rubio’s remarks came in a Thursday tweet.
He wrote: "Florida small business owners are all telling me the same thing, they can’t find people to fill available jobs You can come up with all kinds of reasons & wave around all the Ivy League studies you want, but what does common sense tell you is the reason?"
Larry Kudlow, who served as top economic adviser under former President Donald Trump, said last week that President Joe Biden's economic relief package discourages some people from trying to find work.
He said Biden administration officials were warned that enhanced unemployment benefits, combined with direct payments, could backfire.
"We tried to warn them," Kudlow said during an interview with Fox News. "They were very generous, and of course the checks coming out are very generous. [Americans] are being paid a lot of money to stay home. I hate to say it because I think most people want to work, but on the other hand, people are very smart, and they probably want to work, but if it doesn’t pay, they’ll probably stay home longer."
Under Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package, the government is supplementing weekly jobless benefits by $300 a week. The figure is in addition to the average state unemployment payment of about $340.
But Kudlow noted, in certain cases, unemployment assistance benefits are "too generous."
"It's difficult," he said. "You've got to try to get your unemployment assistance at a level that helps those who are truly needy but doesn't discourage work. That's really the tricky part."
Rubio’s Thursday tweet linked to an Axios story about a shortage of restaurant workers nationwide. The outlet noted eateries throughout the U.S. are facing a shortage of workers.
It said the pandemic wiped out 2.5 million jobs in the restaurant industry and forced the closure of 100,000 restaurants.
But the restaurants that made it through now are finding it difficult to fill all their positions.
"After a whole year of waiting, guests are clamoring to come back. And restaurants have invested in these expanded outdoor areas, and they need people right now," says Alice Cheng, founder of Culinary Agents, a hospitality job search site. "But they’re not finding them."
"Everybody is reopening at the same time" and that means everybody is hiring at the same time, which makes it harder to fill available jobs.
Axios said that some employers say they can't compete with unemployment insurance checks and that people would rather collect benefits than return to work.
But the outlet pointed out that a study last year by Yale economists said benefits don't create a disincentive for job seekers.
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