Labor Secretary Marty Walsh called the 194,000 jobs added in September “not the best number” and admitted that the Biden administration has “work to do” to build up the economy as the country continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s no question that we have work to do. Number one, we’re still living with a pandemic, it’s a worldwide pandemic,” Walsh said on “Axios on HBO” Sunday evening.
“Also, people concerned about the Delta variant, people concerned about their personal health. We have folks that are vaccinated, folks that aren’t vaccinated, people who are vaccinated worried about the people that aren’t vaccinated,” he continued.
The 190,000 jobs added last month fell short of economists’ expectations of about 500,000.
At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent, the lowest since February 2020, as more Americans drop out of the labor market.
Walsh tried to put a positive spin on the numbers, saying, “194,000 is not the best number, but we saw 317,000 jobs in the private sector. We’ve seen good growth in the private sector. … Five million jobs in eight months is not bad.”
Walsh was asked why he thought such a wide gap exists between job openings and the number of people returning to work.
“One of the biggest reasons is, and again no one’s tested this or checked it, I think it’s work/life balance,” he said.
Questioned about what’s to balance for people who aren’t working, Walsh said it comes down to careers.
“They’re looking at their career, and they’re just saying, ‘We were in a career before. I want to get out of this career. I want to move forward,’” he said, adding that “people are going to have to go back into the workforce.”
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