WASHINGTON—October’s unemployment report trended in a positive direction, with 531,000 jobs added despite Biden administration policies that have amplified the labor shortage. Rachel Greszler, a research fellow in Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, released the following statement Friday on the way forward:
“Following subpar employment gains in August and September, the economy added 531,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%.
“Employment is still far off from where it should be. If employment were where it had been in early 2020, there would be about 4.5 million more people in the labor force and 6 million more people working today.
“Federal welfare-without-work policies that the big-government socialism bill would make permanent are making employment less attractive for workers, and that’s hurting employers and everyone else in America. With 10.4 million job openings as of August, and the NFIB reporting that two out of every three businesses were hiring or trying to hire workers in September, employers are still struggling to find the workers they need.
“American households are struggling with the labor shortage’s impact on rising costs—something that could become even worse under Democrats’ massive tax-and-spend package and could be exacerbated by the labor shortage.
“The state of labor could continue its decline with the vaccine mandate for federal workers, contractors, and Medicare and Medicaid providers and the vaccine and testing mandate for employers with 100 or more employees going into effect on Jan. 4, 2022. This is especially concerning in areas of health, safety, and education. Since February 2020, employment in education is down by 803,000 and employment in health care is down by 460,000.
“An October 2021 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 5% of all adults would quit their jobs if subject to a vaccine or testing mandate, while 9% of all adults would quit if subject to a vaccine mandate without a testing option. Out of 148 million payroll employees, that translates into potentially 7.4 million to 13.3 million workers quitting or being fired over vaccine mandates.
“Demand is strong and the labor market and economy should be nearing a full recovery, yet millions of workers remain on the sidelines, supply-chain issues continue to disrupt the flow of goods and services, and the Biden administration is making things worse instead of better.
“We’ve already had a taste of big government socialism and recent employment and economic reports show that it’s not working. Doubling down on these policies will only make things worse.”