SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s governor ended $ 300-a-week federal pandemic unemployment benefits in June to move laid-off Utah workers into open jobs, but that didn’t work out, a state lawmaker says.
Job creation in the country went flat in August. Approximately 235,000 positions were filled, but 720,000 new hires were expected.
However, the US unemployment rate fell from 5.4% to 5.2%. And Utah is the envy of all states with an unemployment rate of 2.6% in August, second only to Nebraska with 2.5%.
Bankers and lawmakers advocate the end of unemployment benefits
Utah State Representative Robert Spendlove, who is Economic and Public Policy Officer at Zions Bank, joined Inside Sources to break down what is going on with the economy at the national and statewide levels.
Spendlove said 235,000 jobs created in a normal month would be excellent, but the U.S. still has 5 million jobs below its pre-pandemic peak.
He said a few weeks ago he started seeing leading indicators of an economic slump, such as the decline in personal dining and flight reservations. Friday’s national labor market report confirmed this suspicion.
‘Back to normal’
Congress’ historical expansion of the extended unemployment benefit ran nationwide last weekend.
Sacked Utahns lost their $ 300 weekly unemployment benefit on June 26.
“This is the natural next step in getting the life of the state and people back to normal,” Governor Spencer Cox said in May as he announced the end of $ 300 unemployment benefits.
“There was a theory that with this increased unemployment benefit phasing out, more people would return to the labor market. What is interesting, at least so far, is that we haven’t seen any clear signs of this. So the states that did not end unemployment insurance prematurely and the states that did see similar employment patterns, “Spendlove said.
Child care during the pandemic
Spendlove said data showed women returned to work in the spring, but that trend reversed in August.
“We saw a very small number. Only around 20% of the workforce were women. And so we continue to see this struggle, and I think that is directly related to childcare, ”he said.
Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard on weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the broadcast on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.