Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A debate about whether generous unemployment cash is fueling a worker shortage is raging, with today's disappointing jobs report caught in the middle.

Why it matters: States blaming benefits for keeping would-be employees home are starting to implement policies to counteract the supposed effect.

What's happening: South Carolina and Montana said they will nix the federal unemployment benefits, citing worker shortages. Georgia and Wisconsin may follow, Politico reports.

  • Residents there will no longer get an extra $300 in benefits. Pandemic-era programs that offered unemployment to those typically ineligible (gig workers, for one) would also go away.
  • Maine, Florida and Arizona will require proof that unemployment applicants looked for work in order to get benefits — a requirement waived when the pandemic hit.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today threw its weight behind ending the extra $300 benefit.

The other side: "The move to cut off benefits is reflecting the assumption that 1) jobs are available but unfilled and 2) the only reason why a worker wouldn’t take one is because they have an unemployment benefit," says RAND economist Kathryn Edwards.

  • "Assuming No. 2 seems very problematic during a pandemic because the pandemic has created a lot of barriers to working," like the lack of child care and the safety concerns that are also keeping people at home.

Biden administration view: "If the unemployment bonus was slowing down hiring, one would expect lower job growth in states and sectors where unemployment insurance is particularly high. In fact, what one sees is the exact opposite," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters today.

Driving the news: The April jobs report put some data behind the worker shortage anecdotes — or none at all, depending on whom you ask.

The bottom line: States are weighing in on the debate that's dividing economists and businesses.

Go deeper

Biden: Disappointing jobs report shows recovery is a "marathon," not a "sprint"

President Biden said Friday that the disappointing April jobs report, which showed the U.S. economy added just 266,000 jobs last month, underscores the importance of the COVID-19 relief package and his other proposed spending plans.

Why it matters: Economists had expected a gain of around 1 million jobs last month, making this the biggest payrolls miss, relative to expectations, in decades.

S.C. governor orders end to federal COVID-related unemployment benefits

Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Thursday ordered the termination of the state's participation in all federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs.

Driving the news: McMaster cited labor shortages, but some experts say it's the job climate and not unemployment benefits that is determining the pace at which people are returning to work.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
May 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

The polarizing jobs report

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Friday morning's dismal jobs report only goes to prove whatever people already believed about government policy.

The big picture: Democrats and progressives are convinced that the weak pace of job growth only serves to underscore the necessity of massive government spending to boost the economy.