266k jobs added in April; Economists were expecting 1 million

Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the April Jobs report.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live. We're continuing to track the responses to the disappointing April jobs report. Overall, the numbers came in a way below that one million jobs number expected, just 266,000 jobs added. Disappointing, to say the least. Indeed calling it the most disappointing jobs report of all time. And we're getting more reactions, including from Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. And for more on all the reaction down there in DC, I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's Jessica Smith, who has the latest for us. Jess.

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, Zack, the White House is trying to push the message that this disappointing jobs report shows that more support is needed, that their American Families Plan, the American Jobs Plan are needed to spur more job growth. They're also pointing out that there are some bright spots in the report that at any other time, this might be a more positive report than what we were expecting.

But Republicans we're hearing from are really bashing the administration's American Rescue package, that $2 trillion relief plan. They are saying the enhanced unemployment benefits that were included in that package that lasts through the summer are discouraging people from going back to work. We also heard from the US Chamber just in the past little bit, calling for an end to the $300 extra weekly boost. They're saying that it is dampening job growth right now, what should be a stronger economic recovery.

But the White House, again, is really pushing back against that message. We did speak with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh earlier today. And he said that he thinks there are people out there who would rather have a job than a temporary benefit. And he thinks fear of the virus and a lack of childcare options are also keeping people from going back to work. Let's watch.

MARTY WALSH: Well, I think one of the things the president released the other day from the American Rescue Plan some money that went into childcare. I think that that's going to be crucial to moving forward. And I also think in-person learning in our public school systems, I think that's going to be key in September. Some of these folks that have not come back into the workforce yet, their company or their restaurant or wherever they worked is no longer around. So, again, it's about training as well.

So I think there's a series of investments that need to be put out there in America so that we can get people back into the workforce. I think that, you know, the president did address it. I want to say it was about three weeks ago, he put, I think it was about $30 billion that he put into the childcare industry to make sure that-- because that's been a big issue. So we just need to continue to see what the barriers are.

And instead of-- I mean, I don't think the barrier to employment is univer-- unemployment insurance. I think the barrier to work is, whether it's childcare, whether it's fear of not being vaccinated, fear of the virus, your business being gone, those are the issues that we have to address, not talk about cutting a benefit for people that are unemployed.

JESSICA SMITH: Now, President Biden's American Families Plan does include universal pre-K and more efforts to make childcare more affordable. So expect to hear that from President Biden when we do talk-- or when we do hear from him in the next few minutes. We're also expecting to hear from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the next hour. Zack and Akiko.

AKIKO FUJITA: How much of this, Jess, do you think sort of derails the other plans for the president? I mean, you don't want to make too much of one jobs report, but this really was a big disappointment at a time when the president is trying to gain more momentum for some of his other bills, including the infrastructure plan. What are you hearing from the Republican side about what all this means and how it shapes up in terms of the president's agenda?

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, Republicans are definitely going to be saying that these beefed up benefits are hurting the economic recovery, that it's keeping people from going back to work. And that may be such a gigantic package President Biden is pushing for, trillion dollars in relief. Maybe that is not needed, but you're going to hear from Democratic lawmakers.

We just got a statement from Senator Warren a little bit ago, saying that this job report shows that universal childcare is needed, that if people had childcare options, they would be going back to work. So I think you're seeing both sides really pick things that they want to see out of this report, as we always see each month. But both sides are really going to dig in here and try and use this report to push the message they're trying to get across.

AKIKO FUJITA: OK, Jessica Smith, thanks so much for that report. And we are expecting to hear from President Biden speaking from the East Room within minutes now. We will bring that to you live as soon as we get that.

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