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Chamber of Commerce seeks end to enhanced weekly jobless aid as hiring stalls

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Posted at 4:33 PM, May 07, 2021

American employers added just 266,000 jobs last month, a sharp downturn from March. 

It's a sign businesses are struggling to fill open positions even as the country recovers economically from the pandemic. 

Construction companies and manufacturers, particularly automakers, slowed hiring last month due to parts shortages. 

Meanwhile, the hospitality sector, which includes restaurants, hotels and venues, is basically begging for workers. 

Lots of jobs are going unfilled because people have changed fields or left the workforce during the last year of the pandemic. And of course, some unemployed Americans are still afraid to go back to work due to the coronavirus pandemic and stubbornly high infection rates in certain parts of the country.

"Here we are in an empty dining room where normally, for lunch, we would be open and serving, you know, a couple of hundred guests," business owner Mac Hay said, "But this year, because of our staff shortage, both with U.S. workers but also workers from overseas, we've we can't fill the demand."

In response, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling on Washington to immediately stop paying Americans an extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits. It's saying that boost is incentivizing some Americans to not return to work. 

The group also said the Biden administration's supplemental benefits means about 1 in 4 Americans is making more money unemployed than they earned while they were working.

This story originally reported by Gage Jackson on