May’s drop in unemployment makes clear the economic emergency is over.
As states continue to reopen their economies, it is having the obvious anticipated impact of lowering the unemployment rate. [The U.S. Department of Labor’s May report showed a drop in unemployment from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent.] The number of people on temporary layoff declined by 291,000 people in May, accounting for about 60 percent of the drop in the number of people unemployed.
However, the fact that more than a million additional people remain on temporary layoff status when compared to February 2020 — prior to the pandemic — continues to prove that big, blue-state governors’ economic-shutdown policies have been a disaster for American workers. The 10 states with the highest unemployment rates are all run by Democrat governors.
We can anticipate that positive employment numbers will keep growing through the summer as blue states continue to open up. Another positive impact this summer will be the decision by almost half of the states to drop the federal-government-extended unemployment benefit which has discouraged workers in these recovered states from coming off the sidelines and taking a job. Next month’s unemployment report should reflect this important policy shift by increasing labor participation.
It is clear that the economic emergency is over. Congress should take immediate steps to end economic measures that no longer make sense. The job-market challenges that remain are largely due to the actions of state governments governing by fear rather than science. These challenges no longer require a one-size-fits-all, federal-government response. It is time to end national economic-emergency measures.
Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). The organization says it is a “non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free-market reforms, private property rights, and core American liberties.” This op-ed is drawn from a news release the ALG issued on June 4.