Portman: June Jobs Report Shows Need for Return to Work Bonus Proposal

July 2, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) released the following statement regarding the June jobs report showing 4.8 million net new jobs last month, and why his return to work bonus proposal remains necessary: 

“Today’s jobs report is more encouraging news for our economy and our workers. It showed that some of the temporary job losses due to the COVID-19 health care and economic crisis are starting to come back, and hopefully they will continue to return as economy continues to reopen. While this report is certainly a cause for optimism in terms of our economic recovery, we're not close to being out of the woods yet. Even with the job gains from this month, the 11.1 percent unemployment rate is still more than three times what it was prior to this crisis. Further, the unemployment rate for Blacks and Hispanics is even higher at 15.4 percent and 14.5 percent respectively, meaning that communities of color continue to face disproportionately larger effects from this crisis. And this jobs report does not reflect the last two weeks of June, where some parts of the country have needed to slow their reopening to continue to combat the coronavirus. It is clear, though, that the combination of federal relief programs like the PPP and the fact that many states are continuing the process of safely and slowly reopening has allowed many Americans to get back into the workforce to help bolster our economic recovery.

“Moving forward, it is critical that we have a workforce that’s ready to step safely into their old jobs or newly available jobs as the states continue their respective reopening strategies. Right now, individuals receiving unemployment benefits are getting $600 per week on top of their respective states’ unemployment benefit thanks to the CARES Act. Given that more than 10 million unemployed Americans are still categorized as ‘temporary layoffs,’ we need to be sure that there’s no financial disincentive for these individuals to get back into the workforce when those jobs become available again. That’s why my return to work bonus proposal is more important than ever. This proposal will provide $450 a week for individuals returning to work, meaning they’d receive their wages plus this $450 bonus. This would encourage folks to continue safely returning to their old jobs or newly available jobs while bolstering the economy. I will work with my colleagues to include this measure in the next legislative COVID-19 response package.” 

NOTE: National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow praised Senator Portman’s work on this issue and said the White House is considering the proposal as discussions commence about the next COVID-19 legislative package.