Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says industries are struggling to find workers because Americans are sitting on stimulus cash they received during the depths of the pandemic.
The Kentucky Republican, speaking in Paducah on Tuesday, said they might start returning to the workforce once it runs out.
“You’ve got a whole lot of people sitting on the sidelines because, frankly, they’re flush for the moment,” Mr. McConnell said. “What we’ve got to hope is once they run out of money, they’ll start concluding it’s better to work than not to work.”
Many Americans received stimulus money from the government during the pandemic, including a wave of $1,400 payments from President Biden and Democrats in early 2021. Republicans rejected those payments as unnecessary, saying they would deter work and fuel inflation.
Unemployment is at a rather low 3.6% but there have been massive upheavals in the workplace during the pandemic.
Besides Mr. McConnell’s theory, people moved to new locations, sparking a mismatch between people and jobs, or they reevaluated their lives and decided they wouldn’t accept low-paying jobs anymore — a trend known as the Great Resignation.
Some families have said it is difficult to balance child care and work amid ongoing virus disruptions.
Mr. Biden has encouraged companies to offer better pay and benefits to lure workers into job openings.