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Sen. Ben Sasse. Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) plans to introduce legislation this week to grant signing bonuses to new hires, he announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The bonuses would replace expanded unemployment benefits and are aimed at boosting employment. Sasse called the numbers in the latest jobs report "crummy."

  • The U.S. gained 266,000 jobs last month, far lower than forecasters' expected 1 million, making this the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in decades.

How it works: Individuals who secure a job by July 4 would receive a bonus equal to 101% of two months of the federal enhanced unemployment benefit. Payments would be delivered in multiple installments.

What he's saying: "A year ago, before we had vaccines, expanded unemployment benefits started to pay more than work," Sasse said in a statement.

  • "The emergency UI program is now penalizing people for going back to work," he added. "Go back to work, get your signing bonus, and get your paycheck. Let’s get America back to work."

Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
May 11, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Iowa struggles with worker shortage despite uptick in unemployment

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

There's no doubt you've stumbled across a "Now Hiring" sign at the drive-thru or grocery store.

  • Like the rest of the U.S., Iowa employers say there's a shortage of available employees in industries like construction and hospitality as the economy picks back up.

Why it matters: The inability to fill open jobs has an immediate impact on our everyday lives, like long waits at our favorite restaurants.

  • Long-term though, it slows our economic recovery and stifles business expansions.

Alabama governor orders end to federal COVID unemployment benefits

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. Photo: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Monday ordered the state to terminate all participation in federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs.

Why it matters: Ivey, like South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), cited labor shortages, but some experts say it's the job climate and not unemployment benefits that is determining people's return to work.

Job openings reach record high

A sign reads "We Are Hiring" outside a store in District Heights, Maryland on April 27. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A record number of open jobs were posted by U.S. employers in March, AP reports, citing a Labor Department report released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Despite a high number of employers seeking workers, April's jobs report found that fewer people were hired than expected. The economy added a mere 266,000 jobs last month while forecasters had floated gains close to 1 million.