Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday defended his decision to end the state’s federal rise in unemployment after thousands of people signed a petition asking the Republican official to reverse his move.
“We have the demand for workers to get people back to work, and the numbers in our state are safe enough for people to get back to work,” Abbott said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street.
“It’s time America got back to work,” said the Republican governor.
Abbott announced earlier this month that effective June 26, the state would be pulling out of legally signed federal unemployment assistance programs in an effort to lessen the economic toll of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These programs included a weekly federal allowance of $ 300 to state unemployment benefits. At least 23 states have restricted their access to federal unemployment programs.
Abbott said he had “the math behind this reasoning”.
“According to the Texas Workforce Commission, we have more vacancies than people on unemployment insurance. In addition, 18% of jobless claims submitted were found to be fraudulent, ”said Abbott.
A majority of Americans support the state’s efforts to end the federal rise in unemployment, according to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University.
In Texas, the decision has caused a setback for those who say the end of the extra help will cause even more pain to those already suffering. A petition asking Abbott to reverse his move has received approximately 8,000 signatures.
Abbott said Friday that ending the federal push was critical to opening the state fully.
“The biggest challenge I hear from employers is that Texas is 100% open, employers are trying to hire new employees, but restaurants and shops and other types of businesses can’t open as much as they want because they can’t be able to win.” Access to the staff they need to open up, “he said.
“So one of the biggest challenges we face is making sure employers can get people there so that we can truly be a fully open economy,” said Abbott.
Economists are unsure whether the rise in unemployment at the federal level is causing potential workers to remain unemployed longer.
A working paper released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggested that the $ 300 increase could have a small impact on job seekers’ willingness to take up jobs.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said he didn’t think the $ 300 increase would cause individuals to turn down jobs.
“Americans want to work,” he said earlier this month.
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