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Dusting Off A Proposal To Reduce Unemployment

The latest unemployment numbers showed big improvements:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.

In June, employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services.

CNBC was ecstatic:

Record jobs gain of 4.8 million in June smashes expectations; unemployment rate falls to 11.1%:


  • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 4.8 million in June, much better than the expected increase of 2.9 million.
  • The unemployment rate fell to a crisis low of 11.1%, also better than the 12.4% estimate.
  • Those on temporary layoff fell by 4.8 million in June to 10.6 million after a decrease of 2.7 million in May.
  • Still, the government survey comes from the middle of the month, and so won’t include many of the pullbacks caused by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. So, we will have to wait until next month to judge that impact.
  • Obviously, many industries — say hotels — were so slow that the numbers had to improve after such a severe shutdown, and indeed leisure and hospitality, which were the superstar of this report, account for about 40% of the total gain in employment.
  • The report also details permanent job losses zooming from 588,000 to 2.883 million.  Part of this is a function of weak companies closing, but some of it is probably a consequence of the world changing.
  • It was over a decade ago that we wrote a piece for the American Thinker, called Solving the Unemployment Crisis. Most of the policy recommendations would work as well today as they would have then. Here is how we explained our proposals:

Here are ten specific policy proposals that can dramatically and quickly reduce unemployment. Their overarching aim is to restore to businesses the wherewithal to hire; to reduce the cost of new hires so that there is less risk in trying out new employees; to also lessen the non-financial risk of new hires; to encourage workforce flexibility; and to ensure that employment is worthwhile.

These ten proposals would be beneficial at any time — but in this economic climate, and at this political moment, they constitute a job-boosting agenda that conservative reformers would do well to consider.

You can review the proposal here.

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