Chairman Neal Statement on the September 2020 Jobs Report

Oct 2, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) September 2020 jobs report:

“As the Trump Administration continues to fail to manage the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, staggering numbers of Americans remain out of work. In September, the recovery of jobs slowed, the number of permanent job losses continued its consistent rise, the number of long-term unemployed individuals rose sharply, and jobless rates for Black and Hispanic workers remained disproportionately high.

“There is an unmistakable parallel between federal pandemic unemployment dollars drying up and our nation’s economic recovery slowing. The relief measures in the CARES Act – that House Democrats have now voted to extend twice with the Heroes and updated Heroes Acts – provided Americans with money they in turn used to purchase goods and sustain jobs. As has been widely reported, many states faced administrative delays in distributing federal unemployment dollars, which caused a delay in the initial effect of the cutoff of supplemental unemployment benefits. The consequences of Republican insistence on cutting unemployment benefits are no longer masked by the late payments and are showing up clearly in the data.

”The inaction of the Trump Administration and Senate majority is especially troubling, as many CARES Act provisions – even those with broad bipartisan support – are on track to expire at the end of this year. For instance, the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which encourages employers to rehire and to keep their employees on payroll, is slated to end on December 31. Among those who reported in September that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 10.3 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked – the exact type of assistance that the ERTC incentivizes. Both Heroes Acts contain an expanded ERTC, but both are languishing in the Senate.

“About 4.5 million people reported that they were unable to look for work last month due to the pandemic, a number that most likely reflects the lack of available child care, parents’ obligation to supervise virtual schooling at home, and the persistent health risks preventing people from returning to their jobs. If the Trump Administration took this virus seriously and effectively fought against it, many of these and other barriers to work would crumble.”

A graph prepared by the Ways and Means Committee that illustrates total U.S. dollars spent on Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) over time can be found HERE.

The FPUC benefit added a $600 per week federal supplement to all types of unemployment benefits. Without the $600 supplement, unemployment benefits replace substantially less than half of wages for the typical worker. See more details HERE.