IG Reports ‘Historic’ COVID Unemployment Funds Lost, Congress Investigates

Reports indicate as much as $400 billion in COVID-19 unemployment relief were likely lost to waste and fraudsters. Lawmakers want answers.

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor demanding documents and information related to the unemployment fraud.

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Labor Market Remains Tight as Unemployment Ticks Up

The U.S. added 315,000 jobs in August, as unemployment rose slightly to 3.7%, according to data released by the Department of Labor Friday.

The number of unemployed people rose by 344,000 to 6 million, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from July, accordingto the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A survey of economists conducted by The Wall Street Journal in advance of the report’s release estimated that 318,000 jobs would be added and that unemployment would remain around 3.5%.

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Commentary: Historical Recession Signals Are Flashing Red

Unemployment insurance continuing claims increased by 122,000 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis from July 2 to July 9 to 1.45 million, the latest U.S. Department of Labor data shows, as multiple historical recession signals are flashing red.

The number comes as initial unemployment claims have continued ticking upward on both on a seasonally adjusted basis. Since mid-March, when weekly claims hit a low of 166,000, now they are up over 251,000.

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‘We’ve Lost Several Hundred Jobs a Day’: Economist Finds Red Flags in Biden’s Positive Jobs Report

Although Friday’s jobs report seemed like good news for a beleaguered economy and President Joe Biden, the report’s potential methodological issue as well as the economy’s negative growth indicate a recession is still on the horizon, according to an economist at The Heritage Foundation.

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics’ job report for June, released on Friday, soothed some fears that the U.S. economy might be approaching a recession. However, negative GDP growth, rampant inflation and methodological issues within the report indicate that a recession is looming, according to E.J. Antoni, a research fellow for regional economics at The Heritage Foundation.

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‘Signs of Slowing’: Unemployment Remains Unchanged as Economists Predict Dim Future

Woman organizing table contents in restaurant

The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

The number of unemployed people remained even at about 5.9 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. Economists projected 400,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Reports: As Inflation Rose in 2021, So Did Americans’ Credit Card Debt

As inflation rose last year to a 40-year high, Americans’ credit card debt also soared, according to analyses published by the personal-finance website WalletHub.

In its Credit Card Debt study, Wallethub found that consumers racked up $87.3 billion in new debt in 2021. During the fourth quarter of 2021, debt increased by $74.1 billion, the largest increase ever reported, Wallethub notes. It was also a 63% larger increase than the post-Great Recession average for a fourth quarter.

By the end of 2021, the average household credit card balance was $8,590. “That’s $2,642 below WalletHub’s projected breaking point,” the report states.

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Commentary: Pharma Giant’s Mandate Makes Ex-Workers of Vaccine Objectors

Eli Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Mandy Van Gorp was confident that her employer of 18 years, Eli Lilly and Company, would treat her fairly when she objected to its company-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The pharmaceutical giant had promised to exempt employees with valid health or religious objections to the policy and she believed she had had both.

Despite presenting a doctor’s note in support of her exemption, citing an auto-immune disease, the company denied her request for a medical exemption. To add injury to the insult she felt, she tested positive for COVID-19 the day after receiving her rejection letter. She then appealed for a six-month deferral on grounds of the positive test. Lilly also denied that request. When she then raised her religious concerns, Lilly said she had missed the application deadline – a deadline that had lapsed several weeks before Lilly replied to her initial accommodation request.

The “toughest night was when we were sitting at the dinner table and my 12-year-old was sobbing, hysterically begging me to get the vaccine so I could keep my job,” recalled Van Gorp, a 42-year-old sales representative and mother of three. “I had to explain that my choice was not about money and that I felt God was leading me not to follow a mandate. It’s hard to explain that to a 12-year-old.”

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10 Republican-Controlled States Reach Record-Low Unemployment Rates

As the peak of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have passed, ten Republican-led states have all recorded the lowest unemployment rate on record.

According to The Hill, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows ten different states with unemployment rates as low as just over 2 percent. Nebraska and Utah are tied for the lowest percentages in the country, at 2.2 percent each. They are followed by Indiana with 2.4 percent, and Kansas with 2.6 percent. The remaining six states are: Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

All ten states’ unemployment rates are currently the lowest on record since BLS first began tracking state-by-state percentages in 1976. Of these ten states, only one has a Democratic governor, with Laura Kelly in Kansas. All ten states have Republican majorities in their respective state legislatures.

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U.S. Added 678K Jobs in February, While Unemployment Decreased Slightly

The U.S. economy added 678,000 jobs in February, according to a Friday report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), beating economists’ expectations.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 678,000 in February, according to the BLS report, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, a pandemic low. Job gains were most pronounced in the leisure and hospitality sectors, which added a total 179,000 jobs.

“The labor market continues to be quite hot,” Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed, told The Wall Street Journal. “It looks like the labor market is still primed for lots of strong employment growth.”

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Commentary: Seven Major Failures of the Biden Presidency

Joe Biden

With President Joe Biden set to deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, it’s a good time to ask: How has Biden done as president and what is the actual state of our union?

According to the American people, things aren’t going great.

A CNN poll in early February asked Americans what they thought of Biden’s presidency and what he’s done right since entering office Jan. 20, 2021.

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New Jobless Claims Dip to 232,000

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 232,000 in the week ending Feb. 19, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

The Labor Department’s figure showed a decrease of 17,000 compared to the week ending Feb. 12, when claims increased to 249,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated that new claims reported Thursday would total 235,000.

Last week’s jobless claim figure marked the first increase after three straight weeks of decline as the Omicron coronavirus variant caused workers to call in sick and businesses to temporarily close.

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Wisconsin Republican Legislators Introduce ‘Stronger Workforce’ Initiative to Fight Growing Labor Shortage

Wisconsin Republican legislators introduced the Stronger Workforce Initiative to fight the growing labor shortage. According to a joint press release from the Wisconsin Senate Republicans and Wisconsin Assembly Republicans, the initiative would be a “multipronged approach to address the employment crisis facing small businesses throughout Wisconsin.”

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Child Tax Credit Is Driving Americans Toward Entrepreneurship, Has Little Effect on Workforce

A new study suggests that the child tax credit (CTC) is not reducing overall employment nationwide but is driving some low and middle-income parents away from their private sector jobs and toward self-employment.

The study, led by researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis’ Social Policy Institute and Appalachian State University and provided exclusively to the Daily Caller News Foundation, found that the monthly payments had barely any impact on the job market whatsoever, contradicting concerns that the tax credits would worsen the labor shortage. It also found that adults were far less likely to list child care as a reason for unemployment, with the share of people saying so dropping from 26% to below 20% once they began receiving the payments.

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November Jobs Report Is One of the Worst Since Biden Took Office

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, marking nearly the lowest number of jobs created in a month since President Joe Biden took office in January.

November’s jobs report was well below economists’ estimate of 573,000, according to CNBC. Additionally, unemployment fell to 4.2% from October’s 4.6% figure, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The U.S. economy, still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic but now subject to uncertainty related to the Omicron coronavirus variant, appeared to slow in momentum in November, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Commentary: I am Challenging the Vaccine Mandate to Protect My Workers’ Jobs

Blue Collar Worker

The Biden administration has finally published its anticipated ultimatum threatening companies like mine with severe fines and penalties for not firing any employee who declines to be vaccinated against or submit to invasive weekly testing for COVID-19. The new rule promulgated by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the guise of workplace safety may well bankrupt the business my father founded. So, as the CEO of the Phillips Manufacturing & Tower Company, I am joining with The Buckeye Institute to challenge OSHA’s vaccine mandate in court. Here’s why.

Phillips is a 54-year-old company based in Shelby, Ohio, that manufactures specialty welded steel tubing for automotive, appliance, and construction industries. OSHA’s emergency rule applies to companies with 100 or more employees — at our Shelby Welded Tube facility, we employ 104 people. As a family-owned business I take the health of my workers seriously — they are my neighbors and my friends. When I heard of the mandate, we conducted a survey of our workers to see what the impacts would be. It revealed that 28 Phillips employees are fully vaccinated, while antibody testing conducted at company expense found that another 16 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies and likely possess natural immunity. At least 47 employees have indicated that they have not and will not be vaccinated. Seventeen of those 47 unvaccinated workers said that they would quit or be fired before complying with the vaccine or testing mandate. Those are 17 skilled workers that Phillips cannot afford to lose.

Perhaps the Biden administration remains unaware of the labor shortage currently plaguing the U.S. labor market generally and industrial manufacturing especially. Like many companies, Phillips is already understaffed, with seven job openings we have been unable to fill. Employees already work overtime to keep pace with customer demand, working 10-hour shifts, six days a week on average. Firing 17 veteran members of the Phillips team certainly won’t help.

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Far More Available Jobs Than Workers as Millions Resign

There are 10.4 million job openings in the U.S., the Department of Labor said Friday, a figure that’s well above the number of unemployed Americans.

“Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+141,000); state and local government, excluding education (+114,000); wholesale trade (+51,000); and information (+51,000),” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. “Job openings decreased in state and local government education (-114,000); other services (-104,000); real estate and rental and leasing (-65,000); and educational services (-45,000).”

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A Record Number of Workers Quit Their Jobs in September as Labor Shortage Worsens

A record 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September, and job openings remained near a record high as labor shortages continue throughout the country.

Roughly 3.0% of U.S. workers left their jobs in September, a jump from August, when 4.3 million people left the workforce, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Friday. The number of job openings remained near its August level of 10.4 million.

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U.S. Adds 531,000 Jobs in October, Exceeding Expectations

The U..S. economy recorded an increase of 531,000 jobs in October, and unemployment fell by 0.2% as the labor market recovers from the summer lows, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The number of unemployed people fell to 7.4 million, down from 7.7 million in September, according to the BLS report released Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones projected 450,000 jobs would be added in October.

While unemployment claims continue to fall, the country still struggles with labor shortages, supply chain issues and growing inflation.  Job growth was widespread throughout the economy in October, with leisure and hospitality adding 164,000 jobs, professional and business adding 100,000 and manufacturing adding 60,000 jobs, according to the BLS report.

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U.S. Consumer Spending Grew Slowly in September amid High COVID-19 Cases, Supply Chain Problems and Rising Inflation

U.S. consumer spending growth slowed in September, and income dropped due to high COVID-19 cases, supply shortages, rising inflation, and ending unemployment benefits.

Consumer spending increased 0.6% in September, down from a 1% jump in August, the Commerce Department announced Friday. Personal income fell 1% in September, driven by a 72% drop in unemployment insurance benefits that offset a 0.7% spike in wages and benefits, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Economists polled by Reuters projected a 0.5% in consumer spending. Delta variant cases peaked in the middle of September, and the continued supply chain backups have caused shortages and rising prices, making it harder for consumers to purchase their desired goods, the WSJ reported.

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Commentary: New Study Vindicates States that Canceled Expanded Unemployment Welfare Early

Debate over the welfare state is once again making headlines. On Monday, the expanded unemployment welfare system was finally allowed to expire after more than a year. Originally created as a “short-term” measure authorized for a few months in March 2020 then repeatedly extended, these benefits paid many of the unemployed more than their former jobs, with benefits reaching up to $25/hour in dozens of states.

Dozens of Republican-led states chose to end the benefits early. This week’s termination of enhanced benefits was in the Democrat-run states that maintained the expanded payouts, and with their lapse, the debate over whether these benefits were disincentivizing work was reignited.

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The Political Time Bomb for Biden Inside the Latest Jobless Numbers

Joe Biden walking with "American Jobs Plan" sign

While the unemployment rate for Americans dropped in August, there is a political time bomb buried in the statistics for President Joe Biden and a Democratic Party increasingly focused on equity: black joblessness shot up significantly.

In other words, the president who fondly boasts of a domestic policy promising to leave nobody behind has an economic recovery that is leaving a key Democratic constituency in worse shape.

“The rise in black unemployment in August is certainly troubling, considering their unemployment rates were already much higher than any other group,” Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said on Twitter.

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Weekly Jobless Claims Sink to 340,000, Hit New Pandemic Low

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 340,000 in the week ending Aug. 28, as the economy continues to slowly recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics figure released Thursday represents a slight decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Aug. 21, when 354,000 new jobless claims were reported. That figure was revised from the 353,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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Biden Administration Won’t Push Pandemic Unemployment Bonus Extension

The Biden administration signaled to Capitol Hill lawmakers Thursday that it will not support an extension of pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

President Joe Biden won’t advocate for an extension of the $300 unemployment bonus given to millions of out-of-work Americans on a weekly basis, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh wrote in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which was implemented in March 2020 and extended by Democrats’ recent American Rescue Plan, is set to expire in early September.

“As President Biden has said, the boost was always intended to be temporary and it is appropriate for that benefit boost to expire,” the secretaries wrote.

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Joblessness Continues Downward Trend

Help wanted sign

The latest federal jobs report shows a dip in new unemployment claims, but those figures still remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Department of Labor reported Thursday that 348,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week. That number is the lowest since March 2020.

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