By Rep. Dusty Johnson
May 14, 2021
More than 36% of all Americans are fully vaccinated. Our nation is on track to get back to “normal.”
But if we really want to get back to normal, that means getting back to work. If you walk down Main Street in most towns across America, you’ll spot “Help Wanted” signs in most windows. There are more than eight million job openings in our country right now, but nearly ten million Americans aren’t working.
The April American jobs report significantly underperformed. Economists were anticipating over one million new jobs added to the workforce, but employment only rose by 266,000 jobs in April. We know our economy can only thrive if there’s a workforce to meet the demand of small businesses.
Over the last several months I’ve heard from South Dakota business owners struggling to fill open spots – they are busier than ever but finding workers has been a hurdle. South Dakota’s Retailers Association said this is impacting mom & pop businesses the most.
When I ask these business owners why they can’t find workers, they tell me that it doesn’t help that the federal enhanced unemployment pays many people more to stay at home than to work. Workers continue to receive an extra $300 a week on top of what they are already receiving in unemployment benefits.
So why not pay workers more? Well that’s the thing, most of these jobs are paying well above minimum wage.
The government created this problem and it’s our job to fix it, that’s why Senator Roger Marshall and I introduced the Get Americans Back to Work Act. Our bill would step down the enhanced federal unemployment benefit between now and June 30, returning us to the system that was in place before the pandemic.
It’s past time to get America back to work, and my bill does that.