It’s hard to find anyone other than Joe Biden who was happy about Friday’s jobs report. Even CNN found little to celebrate in the “disappointing 266,000 jobs were added in April,” which were “well below the 800,000 to 1 million per month needed to dramatically reduce the pandemic’s payroll-employment losses.”
The problem is not a lack of jobs. As NBC News notes, there are more jobs available now than there were before the pandemic, with estimates in March running as high as 15 million job openings. The problem is not a lack of work as it is a lack of people willing to return to the job force when they can sit at home instead and receive unemployment checks from the government that rival the salaries offered.
But like Biden, who sees what will surely go down in history as “Biden’s Folly” as a minor setback that can be corrected by pouring more trillions of dollars into the economy, there are some who are looking for alternate explanations that will get the president off the hook. One is the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell, also a CNN contributor, who offered up an intriguing explanation.
Asked by host Alisyn Camerota why we are seeing “so many fewer jobs this month than expected,” Rampell replied:
We don’t know exactly. … Some of that might have to do with — of course, with the fact that they are getting more generous unemployment benefits. But there are a lot of other factors too, including lack of access to childcare, public transit cutbacks, the risk of getting sick at work, the risk of, frankly, getting assaulted at work, if you tell a customer to wear a mask, etc. So there are a lot of complex things going on here. And employers are certainly saying that they’re having trouble finding workers. And yet there are millions of workers out there who say, hey, I’m trying to find a job, but I can’t find one that will have me that also happens to suit my needs.
My hands-down favorite here is fear of getting assaulted at work after telling a customer to wear a mask. It calls to mind one of my all-time favorite observations by a liberal. And that is Marc Lamont Hill, another CNN alum, who commented after a brutal workplace killing by a Muslim convert that “people behead for all sorts of reasons.”