Obama's former top economist outlines 5 factors that are likely keeping people from returning to work
- A former top economist to Barack Obama said the April
jobs reportwas "stunning."
- "It's going to be complicated and messy" for the
economyto get back on track, Jason Furmansays.
- He outlined 5 factors likely keeping people from returning to work, including virus fears and school closures.
Jason Furman, a former top economist to President Barack Obama, said Friday's April jobs report was a "stunning" one.
"But you should never be too stunned, as data is very noisy and we're going through a very strange period," he told Insider in an interview.The latest jobs report showed the economy had recovered 266,000 jobs in April, a far smaller amount than March's gain and far below projections of a gain of 1 million jobs. Economists had expected a massive job surge due to government stimulus dollars, increased vaccinations, and easing restrictions on businesses.
Furman, now a professor at Harvard University and formerly the chair of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, laid out five factors that he believes are keeping workers sidelined to varying degrees:
- Fear of the virus,
- Early retirements,
- School closures,
- Lack of affordable childcare, and
- Enhanced unemployment insurance ($300-per-week).
Furman also said school closures and difficulties of accessing childcare were another pair of factors restraining the recovery. "That's really important, especially for women with younger children in the economy."He also said federal unemployment benefits from President
Furman said its spending would address longstanding problems and inequalities in the workforce. "It makes just as much sense in light of these numbers as it did before these numbers," he said. "It's designed to address our structural problems.
Furman said he was optimistic that overall trends are pointing in the right direction, but cautioned there could be a start-stop motion to the recovery."We're gonna see pockets of strength, pockets of weakness, areas of overheating, areas where it is uncool - it's going to be complicated and messy," he said.
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