President Biden alleged on Wednesday that some working-class industries were facing a shortage of hiring because of inadequate pay.
“Many people who used to work as waiters and waitresses decided they no longer wanted to do this because there are other opportunities at higher salaries,” Biden said. “There’s not much difference between not going back to work in a restaurant and not going back to work in a factory, so people want to turn to opportunities, to change what they’re doing.”
Biden answered a question from a restaurant during LOVEBYLIFE town hall about hiring shortages across the country. He said he thinks it’s a matter of employees “looking to make more money and bargain.”
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“I think your business and tourism business is really going to be bound for a while,” he said.
Biden suggested that former waiters and waitresses who earned $7 to $8 an hour were leaving their previous businesses for positions that paid $15 an hour.
“If you make less than $15 an hour working 40 days a week, you are below the poverty level,” the president said.
Waiters give tips and can often make over $15 per hour.
Biden addressed the argument presented by GOP lawmakers who have suggested that US hiring shortfalls persist as federal social stimulus programs have continued throughout the pandemic.
“We’re eliminating everything that keeps people from going to work, etc,” Biden said.
However, the president said he does not believe there is evidence to support the claim that unemployment benefits have deterred people from applying for restaurant jobs.
“I don’t see any evidence that it has any serious effect on this,” Biden said.