US companies are still struggling to hire workers because Americans are “flush for the moment” due to the stimulus checks they received from the federal government to help them through the coronavirus pandemic, according to the nation’s most powerful Republican.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the labor shortage currently hampering the US economy will be resolved once the money that Americans saved from their stimulus checks runs out.
“You’ve got a whole lot of people sitting on the sidelines because, frankly, they’re flush for the moment,” McConnell said during an event in Paducah, Kentucky, on Tuesday.
“What we’ve got to hope is once they run out of money, they’ll start concluding it’s better to work than not to work.”
McConnell’s remarks were reported by Business Insider.
In March 2021, the Biden administration signed into law a rescue package that sent $1,400 checks to Americans. No Republicans supported the measure, which passed strictly with Democratic votes.
Republicans have cited the stimulus checks as well as enhanced unemployment benefits as the reasons Americans do not have enough incentive to return to the job market following the height of the pandemic.
The federal government’s pandemic aid to Americans has also been blamed for soaring levels of inflation.
The Labor Department reported on Wednesday that there were nearly 11.3 million job openings on the last business day of May.
In April there were 11.7 million job openings, down from the record high of 11.9 million in March.
During that same period, millions of Americans continued to quit their jobs.
In May, 4.3 million people submitted their resignations — only slightly lower than the record 4.4 million in March, according to CNBC.
Workers have been quitting in favor of jobs that offer higher pay. In May, wages rose 6.1% compared to the same month a year prior — the biggest annual increase in more than 25 years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The robust job market is one of the bright spots for the economy, which has been saddled with record levels of inflation.