July jobs report contains powerful message about coronavirus and the future

July jobs report reveals US gained 1.763 million jobs

Fox News contributor Brian Brenberg breaks down the numbers.

The July jobs report shows what businesses and workers really need is for political leaders to take down barriers to re-opening

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Despite headlines about rising coronavirus case counts and the threat of new shutdowns, the U.S. economy gained 1.8 million jobs in July, beating expectations and marking the third straight month of increases above 1 million.

US EMPLOYERS HIRE 1.8M DESPITE NEW COVID-19 SHUTDOWNS

It’s a signal that businesses and workers are tapping into pre-COVID economic momentum as they get back on the job. And, it’s more evidence that the $3 trillion stimulus Democrats are pushing in Congress isn’t what the economy needs to bounce back.

The key to a faster economic recovery remains unleashing the private sector. Congress should be focused on enabling work, not pushing an ideological economic agenda.

What workers and businesses really need is for political leaders to take down barriers to re-opening and re-hiring. Here are three things that should be priorities right now.

The key to a faster economic recovery remains unleashing the private sector. Congress should be focused on enabling work, not pushing an ideological economic agenda.

NEARLY HALF OF US JOBS LOST TO CORONAVIRUS COULD BE GONE PERMANENTLY, POLL FINDS

Priority number one should be fixing unemployment insurance so that it doesn’t pay a bonus to keep people out of work.

Businesses repeatedly cite the $600 increase in unemployment created by the CARES Act as an impediment to hiring. Even though it expired at the end of July, the uncertainty about what will happen next remains a roadblock.

Congress should fix it now by reducing the unemployment bump-up, as some Senate Republicans have proposed. But House Democrats refuse to address unemployment on a standalone basis, fearing they’ll lose leverage on their other priorities—like massive new aid to states. As they hold out for spending that will appease party progressives, American business and workers are stuck in limbo.

Priority number two should be helping schools open safely in the fall.

This is an issue where safety and educational outcomes are paramount, and rightfully so. But the economic impact is significant, too. Families have built livelihoods around the rhythm of children going to school, and the temporary workarounds of last spring simply aren't sustainable heading into a new year.

FED UNDERSCORES SUPPORT FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY THREATENED BY VIRUS RESURGENCE

Congress can help by putting wasteful spending aside and instead ensuring schools have what they need to reopen safely — including resources for testing and symptom monitoring, air filtration, protective equipment, and reconfiguring classrooms and common spaces.

The teachers and school leaders I talk with want to get this right and they’re looking for elected leaders to get behind them.

Priority number three should be liability protection for businesses who are making good-faith efforts to open up shop safely and protect workers and customers.

Sen. McConnell says he’s drawing a hard line on this issue, and for the sake of America’s continued jobs recovery, he should not budge.

July’s strong jobs report should be a wake-up call to Congress that they’re not leading America’s economic recovery, but they can derail it.

These sensible protections are critical if we’re going to give employers the confidence to rehire, expand their workforce, and invest in reconfiguring their operations to ensure they can safely and effectively serve customers.

The good news is that businesses and workers aren’t waiting around for Congress to save the day. They’re pressing forward even against the headwinds of threats to reinstitute shutdowns, and they’re finding innovative ways to make use of every inch of re-opening freedom they can get.

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They’re proving no amount of government spending can make-up for destructive shutdowns or substitute for private sector investment and hiring. The path to accelerated recovery runs through Main Street, not Washington, D.C.

July’s strong jobs report should be a wake-up call to Congress that they’re not leading America’s economic recovery, but they can derail it. It’s past time for them to remove barriers that are sidelining workers, get behind schools that are striving to safely reopen, protect employers from frivolous lawsuits, and then get out of the way.

Professor Brian Brenberg is Chair of the Program in Business and Finance and Executive Vice President at The King’s College in Manhattan.

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