JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon suggested Thursday that companies are having trouble hiring in part because some Americans don’t feel like working right now.
Asked about the record high 8.1 million job openings recorded in March, the CEO said there are many causes, including challenges with reopening schools and the enhanced unemployment benefits enacted during the pandemic.
“People actually have a lot of money,” the JPMorgan CEO said at a House Financial Services Committee hearing aimed at holding the megabanks accountable, “and they don’t particularly feel like going back to work.”
Dimon, who made $31.5 million in total compensation last year, did not elaborate.
Economists have cited three main causes: lingering health concerns, a lack of childcare and the $300 boost to federal unemployment benefits that could make it harder to fill lower-wage positions. Many GOP-led states have recently decided to stop paying those enhanced unemployment benefits.
Honeywell, the world’s largest industrial company by market value, is having trouble hiring despite boosting wages. “We have far more openings than I’d like, frankly,” CEO Darius Adamczyk told CNN Business last week.
During the hearing, which included testimony from the leaders of the six largest US banks, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan called the worker shortage a “serious concern.”
Dimon also reiterated his optimism about the economic recovery and the jobs market.
“Rest assured, I think we are going to see a completely booming economy and a lot of people going back to work,” he said. “Hopefully it will continue for quite a while.”
But Dimon did have some tough words for politicians about the economic challenges facing the country. He repeated his recent criticism of public policy, specifically around infrastructure, healthcare, taxation, immigration and regulation.
“American leadership really matters,” Dimon said. “If we don’t get our academic act together, we won’t be a leader in 20 years.”