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Op-Ed: Job openings hit a record high — yet the unemployment bonuses keep coming

This article originally appeared on The Washington Post on June 9, 2021.

Job openings in the United States hit a record high of 9.3 million in April, the Labor Department announced Tuesday. That’s up from 8.3 million in March. The evidence is clear: Despite a staggering federal stimulus of $5.3 trillion since March 2020, in what now should be a natural upswing in the business cycle, the Biden economy is producing underwhelming job growth.

The lesson here is that even coming out of a recession, when employment should surge, policy matters — and bad policy can easily hobble an economic recovery. The May jobs report released last week showed a labor market consistently falling short of even diminished expectations. The economy added a net total of 559,000 jobs in May, which doesn’t sound so bad until you consider that it’s nearly 100,000 fewer jobs than economists had predicted. And it’s worse in the context of current trends.

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