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Economist Richard Wolff says higher wages needed to spur faster job growth

Richard Wolff, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in an interview with Hill.TV’s “Rising” that employers should be focused more on offering higher wages instead of lamenting the number of unfilled jobs.

“If the business community understood or cared, they wouldn’t be suggesting a labor shortage as a way to get the government to force people to go back to work without paying higher wages,” he said.

“Corporations want people to come back to work at low wages,” Wolff said. “They want to be able to raise the prices, which they’re doing, but they don’t want to give people higher wages.”

Wolff said rising inflation is “going to make the American people buy fewer things because they can’t afford to pay those higher prices.” 

“If fewer things are bought, fewer people will be hired to produce what can’t be sold,” he added.

The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs last month despite expectations on Wall Street that more than 1 million would be added.

“Everything that’s happening to this country at this point is either a huge miss or a miscalculation or a surprise or a shock,” said Wolff. “We are still in the stages of one of the worst catastrophes both in our economy and in our public health system.”

Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike Inflation concerns spark new political fights Irish finance minister seeks compromise on global minimum tax MORE said recently the latest job report “underscores the long-haul climb back to recovery.”

“As our economy continues to heal, it’s important to consider ways in which we can build back better, and one of those ways is removing barriers to higher labor market participation,” Yellen said.