April’s disappointing jobs report left many people shocked, but none more than those waiting to analyze it live on the air Friday morning on CNBC.
Instead, only 266,000 jobs were created in the month of April while the unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent.
The numbers shocked forecasters and are being blamed by some on the federal government’s $300 per week supplemental income for the unemployed. Those extra dollars, every week, are blamed for creating an incentive for millions of people to continue to voluntarily sit out of the workforce.
But before any of that could be debated on Friday, the much-anticipated jobs report needed to be released.
When that report came across the desk of Steve Liesman of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” he couldn’t believe them. Liesman actually had to double-check the numbers.
— CNBC (@CNBC) May 7, 2021
“Uh, wow, it just came across — give me a second here,” Liesman said as he looked down upon the report. “Uh, we have the number here, just came across … Ahhh.”
“Sorry about that, it came across very quickly here,” the financial analyst added, appearing frustrated by what he was seeing. “It looks 266,000. It looks like it was a big disappointment at 266. But maybe I have that wrong. Let me double-check the bureau website, here … uh, one second.”
Liesman then surrendered, after viewing the numbers on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website that, “Yes, 266 is correct, unemployment changed little — changed to 6.1 percent, so we have some issues here.”
The network then went into full-on spin mode as “average hourly earnings” were touted within moments, and noted to have been “rocketing,” as CNBC embraced its silver linings.
The jobs report was so bad this morning @steveliesman @CNBC couldn’t believe what he was reading. Dow Jones estimated 1 million new jobs. The reality was 266K. That’s more than disappointing. It’s abysmal. And it’s a direct reflection of Democrats’ completely misguided policies. https://t.co/Hdgdy5ahMQ
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) May 7, 2021
I know that the economists who make these forecasts are intelligent, that most work really hard at their craft, & that sometimes unforseen factors can mess up even the best research.
… But if I missed my mark by almost 400%, I think I'd be embarrassed. 😳 https://t.co/nrjUuoMpCL
— Fr. Robert R. Ballecer, SJ (@padresj) May 7, 2021
This is what happens when a country is on its 13th month of unemployment subsidies giving out $50k a year, most of it untaxed. Companies simply can’t hire. Few applicants, tons of interview no-shows. Gas stations, stores, restaurants cutting hours bc there is no one to work. https://t.co/j6GG71Aiau
— Chad Buchanan (@_chadbuchanan) May 7, 2021
When you pay people more to stay home than to show up for work, what did you expect? https://t.co/WdUpUelOSB
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) May 7, 2021
As the country digested the negative April numbers throughout Friday, it became clear that something was seriously wrong.
By the evening, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president Neil Bradley had concluded that the federal government’s added unemployment benefits were to blame for the anemic job growth.
“The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market. We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our workforce issues and the very real threat unfilled positions poses to our economic recovery from the pandemic,” Bradley said in a statement.
“One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit. Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working,” Bradley added.
Forbes reported on Friday that, per the most recent estimates, there are 7.4 million jobs currently posted online. Meanwhile, according to the BLS, 9.8 million Americans are currently collecting unemployment benefits.