Recent data from the federal government reveals there are more job openings now than at any other point on record. While the vacancies leave the labor market wide open for those seeking employment, businesses, especially small ones, are suffering.
After all, a company can’t operate effectively on a skeleton staff. But why are these jobs going unfilled? The current unemployment rate is well above pre-pandemic levels. The answer, as usual, is misguided government policy.
During the initial months of the pandemic, the U.S. economy shed more than 22 million jobs—largely because of government-imposed lockdowns. With 15 percent of the workforce decimated, extra cash was appropriated by Congress to temporarily strengthen unemployment benefits distributed by the states. Since then, what was supposed to be momentary relief to address a period of uncertainty has been extended. Currently, $300 in extra federal weekly unemployment benefits (on top of state aid) are scheduled to remain in place until September.