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New Day Saturday
Federal Judge Overturns California's Ban On Assault Weapons; Infrastructure Talks Between Biden And GOP Senator Hit A Wall; Dems Weigh Next Steps To Pass Agenda As Talks With GOP Hit Wall; Cyber Criminals Target Vital Infrastructure And Businesses; States Face Uphill Battle To Biden's July Four Vaccine Goal; Business Struggle To Find Workers As America Begins To Reopen; Some Americans Quitting Instead Of Giving Up Working From Home. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired June 05, 2021 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your new day. It's Saturday June 5th. I'm Boris Sanchez.
AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Boris. Good to be with you. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.
We're following a developing story out of California where a federal judge has overturned the state's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled Friday that the ban violated the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. And he compared the AR-15 rifle to a Swiss Army Knife as a "perfect combination" of home defense weapon and homeland defense weapon.
SANCHEZ: Yes, it's a comparison that is drawing scrutiny, including from California's Governor Gavin Newsom. He called it a disgusting slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence and a direct threat to public safety. California's attorney general now has 30 days to appeal the decision. In just a moment, we're going to speak to our legal expert, Joey Jackson, about the implications of all of this, but we want to step back and talk about what's going on in the nation's capital.
WALKER: That's right, and that is where all eyes are on the White House to see President Biden's next move, as negotiations over his infrastructure plan hit a wall. The latest concession from Senate Republicans, an additional $50 billion in spending still leaves a multibillion-dollar gap between the parties and it is being rejected by the Biden administration.
SANCHEZ: So, the big question now is bipartisanship, a bust? Senator Joe Manchin still thinks a deal across the aisle is not only possible but necessary. He's part of a Senate group that could now emerge as the next key negotiating partners for President Biden. And it's not just the economic agenda that's at stake, recent cyber-attacks on everything from pipelines to meat packing or adding new urgency to shore up critical us infrastructure. WALKER: All right, let's start at the White House. CNN Jasmine Wright is there. So, Jasmine, bring us up to speed. Where does this quest for an infrastructure deal stand right now?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a critical time for President Biden, as the two sides are still very far apart. So however, the president proceeds could dictate what priorities he is able to get passed by midterms, when we know there is going to be a battle for the control of Congress. So, on Friday, President Biden rejected it the latest offer from Republicans that totaled about $950 billion that included an increase of $50 billion in new spending.
So, that would be a total of $300 billion in new spending, but that fell short of what President Biden want. Remember, he wanted $1.4 trillion for this bill, and that's $1 trillion in new spending. Obviously, this is not the same number, right. So, President Biden spoke with Senator Shelley Moore Capito on Friday.
And in a statement afterwards, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, she wrote that, "The current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis and create new jobs. He indicated to Senator Capito, that he would continue to engage a number of senators in both parties in the hopes of achieving a more substantial package. They agreed to speak again on Monday."
So, Monday is a key day and on June 9th, begins a markup in the House Transportation Committee of a transportation bill, infrastructure bill that's more traditional. That would be $500 billion over the next five years for things like railroads, trains, bridges, all those kinds of things. And President Biden also spoke with the Committee Chairman Congressman DeFazio, also on Friday.
And in a statement, Press Secretary Jen Psaki, she said that "The realities of timelines including the fact that Congressman DeFazio is leading the markup of key components at the American jobs plan next week. That key infrastructure components where there is a big overlap." So, the question going into next week is if these two parties cannot find a way to bridge this massive, massive gap, is what happens next?
And potentially we can come to the to the situation where we're wondering who leaves negotiations first because we know both parties, both Republicans and Democrats want to at least seem like they tried hard to come to a bipartisan deal.
SANCHEZ: We know you'll keep an eye on it for us. Jasmine Wright from the White House, thanks so much. Let's pivot to Capitol Hill now, in CNN's Daniella Diaz. Daniella, progressives want to take action on Joe Biden's agenda. But moderate Democrats, namely Joe Manchin, he's still holding out hope for a bipartisan breakthrough. He says that this isn't supposed to be easy that it's supposed to be difficult.
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Boris. You know, on one hand, you have Senator Bernie Sanders who really wants to try to pass an infrastructure package just with Republican support alone, which they can do using budget reconciliation. But then you have Senator Joe Manchin, who has been incredibly vocal about wanting to negotiate with Republicans on an infrastructure package and pass something through the Senate that could break the filibuster, the 60- vote threshold needed for legislation to pass through the Senate.
You know, Manchin is very devoted to the idea of civility and cooperation in the Senate. And that's not that much different from President Joe Biden himself, who has really made working with Republicans and bipartisanship, a landmark of his 2020 presidential campaign and his presidency. But it's unclear right now, where that negotiates, what negotiations will go now that we know that the GOP infrastructure package was rejected by the White House. But Manchin is still devoted to this idea of having a bipartisan infrastructure package and working with Republicans despite all of this. Take a listen to what he told our Manu Raju this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I know everyone's in a hurry right now. If anyone understands the process, it's President Joe Biden with 36 years of experience or more here. He understands and gets it well. I hope his staff understands it, also we're trying to do. We've got to bring our country together. We can't continue to split and go further apart. We just can't do that. And we've got to work together. And that's, that takes a lot of time and energy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: You know, Republicans are not eager to hand President Joe Biden a win on any sort of piece of his agenda. And they won't help anything if it doesn't advance their own midterm agenda. So, this is a huge factor in why Republicans and Democrats can't seem to negotiate a deal on infrastructure and other issues that Democrats have been eager to work with Republicans on and the White House has been eager to work with Republicans on. But the bottom line here is Manchin is not done trying to emphasize working with Republicans, this bipartisanship that he is so vocal about, and Democrats need to listen to him because in the end, they need his vote on whatever passes through the Senate.
WALKER: All right, Daniela Diaz, appreciate your reporting. Thank you so much for that. All right. Let's discuss now with CNN Political Analyst Margaret Talev, she is also the Managing Editor of Axios. Good morning to you, Margaret. Thanks so much for being with us. So, we just heard there from Daniella, the reporting that just how committed Joe Manchin is to bipartisanship, but you know, we saw how far bipartisanship went when it came to the independent January 6th commission. It died through a Republican filibuster. What do you think is a trigger for Democrats to go alone at this point?
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Amara, they can only go alone, if they have Joe Manchin. So, Joe Manchin is the trigger. And as we sit talking about these issues, like there's this argument to be made, right, that is just about President Biden playing out the string and, you know, ruling out the idea that Republicans will work with him before they pivot to Democrats. But if Joe Manchin had 50 -- I mean, if Joe Biden had 51 votes right now, Democrats would probably already be doing that.
They literally can't pass it through reconciliation without Joe Manchin. And so, this is where we are. President Biden and his team have chosen Senator Shelley Moore Capito to be kind of their point person at this point in the negotiations with Republicans, and I just don't think that's an accident. Yes, she's someone who Biden can work with. Yes, she has experience on appropriations and other relevant committees. But perhaps the most important attribute about her is that she's the senior senator from West Virginia, which is also Joe Manchin's state.
And when you hear Machin talk about Capito, she's doing a great job, we're going to talk next week. This gives you some idea of part of Biden's strategy. It is the idea that if this can be a victory for West Virginia, it may make it more likely for Manchin to be able to broker it. And if Capito just comes back and says we can't do it, Republicans can't get where you are, it frees Manchin up to go side with Democrats in a way it might not if the Republican negotiator was from another state.
WALKER: Very interesting because I was just going to ask you about his calculus and that does help us understand, you know which way he might be playing. Margaret, Former Vice President, Mike Pence, he's finally speaking out about January 6th. And it looks like he's trying to have it both ways, although he did say and he did break with Trump by saying that he did not see eye to eye with the former president. Why is he breaking with him? What does he stand to gain except the ire of his own party and potentially torpedoing his chances that 2024?
TALEV: I think he's got the ire of a section of the party either way. And Pence is now trying to figure out how to calibrate his own position going forward into that 2024 race, which, by the way on the Republican side, really starts today, because we're going to see the former president, we're going to see Donald Trump in North Carolina, at the state GOP event, and that is sort of the Trump kickoff for what we're told is a summer of many rallies and appearances.
Pence has to find a place to distance himself without invoking, kind of, more of a fight with Donald Trump. And what we're going to see from Donald Trump is, well, I don't know what we're going to see. Is it going to be a rehash of, you know, the, the November election? Is it going to be a discussion of infrastructure, and the path forward as many Republicans want it to be?
And can Donald Trump help Republicans get over the line to take back the House of Representatives? These are all of the questions around Trump. If you're Pence, you're just trying to get someone to pay attention to you and you're trying to define early on, what's your brand going to be what distinguishes you from Trump without inviting a massive fight from Trump?
WALKER: And well, let's talk more about what might or might not happen or what might be said tonight by former President Trump as he addresses the North Carolina Republican Party and both CNN and Axios have reporting on this. This is from CNN, "Sources familiar with Trump's thinking describe them as bored by the issues his advisors wish she would focus on from threats to America's energy infrastructure to increased inflation and other economic concerns. He is so obsessed with his unsuccessful quest for re-election.
One ex-Trump official said that he has been moving himself toward irrelevance." And your colleagues, Margaret, at Axios, adding this President Trump plans to make Anthony Fauci a top target at upcoming rallies using increased attention to the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory as a weapon against an official long viewed as more trustworthy. A we were talking about, look, you know, which way are we going to see Trump go tonight, but doesn't say a lot about the fact that, you know, he's not going to actually be touching much on policy, if anything?
TALEV: Yes, this is most likely going to be red meat for the base. And as my colleague, Mike Allen, has been saying that Tony Fauci is the new Hillary Clinton for Donald Trump, when it comes to the, the speech circuit. But look, I'm Tony Fauci, an incredibly popular doctor in public health official nationally and overall, but a very divisive figure inside the Republican Party base. And this is a person who Trump feels can, can motivate enthusiasm, and, and turnout, and so he's going to lean into it in the in the days and weeks.
And if it works, perhaps, months to come. The question for his strategists is particularly Republican, college educated, suburban swing voters in in key house races. Is that really what they want to hear? Is that the message that they want to hear? I think we're going to have a long summer of, of testing and sort of trial and error on this. It's not going to play out on Facebook. We know that now. But it is going to play out in state party conventions and perhaps more public skill rallies over the summer.
WALKER: Interesting that we're still talking about Trump and the fact that he still has a very strong grip on the Republican Party. Margaret Talev, I appreciate you joining us this morning, as always, thank you.
TALEV: Thanks so much.
SANCHEZ: So let's take a step back to the big breaking news this morning. A California federal judge overturning the state's 30 year ban on assault weapons. Joining us now to discuss is CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney, Joey Jackson. Joey Good morning. Great to have you Saturday, as always. The judge called California's three decade old assault weapon ban a quote failed experiment. What do you make of this decision?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Wow, is what I make of it. Good morning Boris. Good morning, Amara. Listen, the bottom line is that certainly there's a separation of powers, right, just going back to the basics. And of course, we know that you have state legislatures that pass laws and then you have governors that sign those laws, they go into effect, right? And so, you have this separation, but you also have courts which are meant to interpret laws.
And just to be clear, when it comes to things like constitutional rights like what like what? The right to bear on Second Amendment like the right to vote free speech just using that, by analogy, they're very broad rights that we all enjoy, but they are subject to limitations. And so, what I make of it is that you have a very activist judge, who apparently is a judge who was in favor of gun rights and gun control, or excuse me, not in favor of gun control.
And as a result of that, use that activism in order to write this 94- page decision, which he in which let's be clear bars, he overturned a 30 year ban on assault weapons, comparing and saying that knives are far more dangerous, very activist decision. This certainly will not be the last word that we hear with regard to this issue.
WALKER: You know, I have to say, it's quite shocking, actually, to read some of the judge's opinion in this ruling. And one of the things that judge wrote Joey was, quote, the banned assault weapons are not bazookas howitzers, or machine guns. Instead, the firearms deemed assault weapons are fairly ordinary, popular modern rifles. This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes. The fact that it uses the word average, I think, four times I mean, is there anything average about the way these assault weapons are used? I mean, we know they've been used multiple times in many mass shootings we've seen over the years.
JACKSON: Yes, that's therein lies the problem, Amara. Right, you have an activist judge, a judge is supposed to interpret the law really, to make a determination as to whether it's constitutional. When I talked before about limitations using as an example of the First Amendment. We know you have a right to free speech, you can't yell fire in a theater, right? Because it endangers others.
You can't defame someone that is speak ill of someone where it's factually inaccurate, that will subject you to a lawsuit. Same to when it comes to the Second Amendment. Listen, people do enjoy the right to bear arms. But the laws have said and courts have said that that right is subject to a reasonable limitation vive for states. And remember, just going back historically, we had a ban federally on assault weapons on the Clinton that lasted 10 years at sunset and about 2004.
And here we are now where you have a judge interpreting whether or not a state appropriately unlawfully has, has placed this ban here. When I said before briefly, Amara, that this is not the last word. Remember, this is a single judge. This is a judge who presided in the Federal District. And so, what we're going to see is we're going to see an appeal, there's a 30 day stay so that there can be appeal. And that appeal will go to the Ninth Circuit.
But I think also there, it's not what it used to be what's that the ninth circuit is an appellate court. And that appellate federal court has been largely reshaped by our former president who was very active and appointing judges last thing. And the reason that's relevant is because as we know, it's not only about the law, it's about your political bent. It's about how you interpret the law. It's about are you conservative, are you not?
This particular judge having been appointed by Bush, now this court, the circuit courts will be evaluating as it's largely been reshaped by Trump. And so, I think there will still be a political view towards this. And it's, you know, the view that you hold as a judge will likely be how you come out on this matter when it goes to that court, and potentially could go to the Supreme Court. We know how that's been reshaped as well.
SANCHEZ: And Joey, I'm glad you mentioned the appeal, because California as attorney general has already said that he is going to appeal this well before that that 30-day deadline. Walk us through building the legal argument in that appeal, what kind of precedent is he going to use to get this overturned?
JACKSON: So there's quite a bit, Boris. Great question. There's quite a bit. Let's remember that there's a split in different courts as to how they evaluate this. What am I speaking about? you know, states after the federal ban that I spoke to earlier, last 10 years, starting in 94, going to 2004 with a federal government that ban on assault weapons, you saw various states, right, who said, look, we are states, we have rights, there are 50 of us and some states are more conservative, some states are more liberal, right?
So, you're going to have different laws, you're allowed to do that you have your own state legislature, you have your own governor. But ultimately, what happens is these restrictions on assault weapons have by other federal district courts been found to be perfectly acceptable. And so, now you have an instance where there's a conflict, no surprise, but there's a conflict with respect to one court saying you can't do that. And another court saying it's perfectly appropriate.
So, when we talk about building a case, law, as we know, is based on precedent. It's also based in of course, we enjoy constitutional rights. But I think what you're going to hear the state say is that look, we need this ban, we have a right as a state to impose reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations. We have a right to speak to the necessity of weapons and the lack of necessity of weapons to hammers earlier point, many mass shootings in this regard.
And I think you'll see that tension in the law between the right of a state to really support a citizen's right to bear arms, but on the other hand protected citizens from mass shootings that have no place in society. It'll go to the Ninth Circuit again, pellet court, then ultimately, we could see that that other place we know so well, that's the U.S. Supreme Court. So, stay tuned. This is not the last word with regard to this issue.
WALKER: But just quickly, because we have to go. Just a yes or no answer Joey, when you see the way that the Ninth Circuit, the Appellate Court, and the Supreme Court has been reshaped by Republican presidents, do you expect this, the overturning of this ban on assault weapons to be with upheld?
JACKSON: Listen, I'll say this, Amara, briefly that you know, it, it really would be difficult because of that reshaping. We're seeing a more conservative Ninth Circuit Court at this point. And so therefore, as I said, it's shaped by politics and many measures how you interpret the law. Yes. So it could be very difficult for this band to be removed. And then the Supreme Court is now very conservative, and so they could very well, you know, uphold that as well.
WALKER: Very important points. Joey, appreciate your expertise on this. Thank you so much.
BORIS: Thanks, Joey.
JACKSON: Thanks you.
SANCHEZ: Still to come, a cyber-911 why the FBI director is comparing the recent hacks linked to Russia to the problems that we had after 911.
WALKER: Plus, a promising new jobs report numbers are up and hiring is on the rise. But even after a year of economic hardship, why are many businesses still struggling to find workers?
SANCHEZ: We're 25 minutes past the hour. The White House is taking a more aggressive approach to the cyber-attacks that have targeted key American infrastructure and businesses. The Biden administration blaming Russian based hackers for an attack this week on JBS, the world's largest meat supplier. And of course, you recall, last month's colonial pipeline attack that sent people flocking to gas stations and send gas prices soaring across the eastern U.S.
WALKER: Now, the issue is expected to dominate talks when President Biden meets with European leaders later this month, especially during his first face to face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. CNN Jessica Schneider has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Biden administration sounding the alarm about the growing threat of cyber-attacks. FBI Director Christopher Wray comparing the effort needed to combat this rapid succession of hacks and ransomware attacks to how the FBI approach the response to terrorism after 911.
"There are a lot of parallels, there's a lot of importance and a lot of focus by us on disruption and prevention," Wray said. Director Wray told the Wall Street Journal, the FBI is investigating about 100 different types of ransomware, many that trace back to hackers in Russia.
One study shows the US was hit by more than 15,000 ransomware attacks last year alone, costing businesses and organizations between at least half a billion and 2.3 billion in 2020. Ransomware locks up computer files and hackers demand payment to release the files.
JOHN CARIN, PRINCIPAL ASSOCIATE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Cryptocurrency payments is similar techniques that will just describe to show a 300 percent increase in ransom payments over the prior year.
SCHNEIDER: Ransomware attacks have impacted everything from the gas pipeline operated by Colonial that led to gas shortages all along the east coast, to meat production plants being shut down, and even individual healthcare networks whose computer systems have been shut down sporadically across the country and the world.
JOHN HULTQUIST, DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS, FIREEYE: Before long, we are worried that some people will get hurt especially when we consider all these incidents that are affecting healthcare. Ireland's healthcare system went down.
SCHNEIDER: The Department of Justice signaling this week it plans to coordinate its cyber investigations the same way it treats terrorism cases by sharing information and interagency coordination. Former FBI Cyber Official Sean Henry says it's going to take an international effort.
SEAN HENRY, PRESIDENT, CROWDSTRIKE: They've got to work collaboratively with foreign law enforcement agencies to take these people off the field.
SCHNEIDER: The massive threat from cyber-attacks have been looming for years. Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned about the threat three years ago.
DAN COATS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack. The White House this week send business leaders nationwide a letter appealing for immediate action saying, "We urge you to take ransomware crime seriously and ensure your corporate cyber defenses match the threat."
FBI Director Ray also called out Russia in that interview for knowingly harboring cyber attackers. But President Vladimir Putin is fighting back, calling it nonsense that Russia was ever involved in any cyber-attacks specifically on the JBS meatpacking plants. And President Joe Biden will get the chance to confront Putin at a summit in Switzerland later this month.
The White House says President Biden will address that JBS attack with Putin as well as the increased cyber-attacks that we know have been emanating from Russia. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
SANCHEZ: Jessica, thanks for that. Bosses across America could be in for a major dilemma. Workers who say they are going to quit if they can't keep working from home. You'll hear from someone who did just that in only a couple minutes Stay with us.
[07:33:51] AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (on camera): Recent CNN analysis CDC data shows that at the current pace of U.S. vaccinations, the country will fall short of meeting President Biden's goal of 70 percent of adults with one dose by July 4th.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, right now, about 63 percent are vaccinated with the country expected to hit Biden's target a bit later than he anticipated. In mid to late July.
But the push to get more shots in arms comes amid a recent uptick in COVID hospitalizations among teens. CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Biden administration's Fourth of July deadline of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated against COVID-19 is fast approaching, as the country's vaccination rate shows some improvement.
On Friday, the average number of shots administered daily trickled up to just over a million a day, reports the CDC. The latest sets also showed just over half of the country has received at least one vaccine dose.
The nation's top infectious disease expert confident the goal will be reached, but it will be an uphill battle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It is not over until it's over, and it is not over yet. And that's one of the things we've got to make sure we don't fall into that trap. Because if we do, we could get another surge, particularly with variants floating around that could set us back.
SANDOVAL: This week, another round of promising lows. The U.S. recorded a seven-day average of about 15,000 new COVID cases per day on Friday. That's the lowest since March 2020. Average daily COVID deaths also low.
But a CDC study has seen an uptick in 12 to 17-year-olds hospitalized with the virus. Now, the focus is on unvaccinated youth.
DR. RICHINA BICETTE, ASSOCIATE MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Now, pediatric cases are accounting for about 25 percent of total COVID cases. As adults get vaccinated and become more protected and immune to this virus, the virus is still in the community looking for a vulnerable host, and pediatric patients fit that description.
SANDOVAL: Throughout much of the country, health officials are reaching out to young people from nightclubs to school campuses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to come, get my vaccine because it's going to benefit me like -- because of the summertime. And also, because I have to go to school, and I have to get the vaccine to go to school and to also be safe. SANDOVAL: With more than two-thirds of adults in Massachusetts having received their first shot, the state is shifting its vaccination strategy to a more community-based approach. State officials will start gradually closing mass vaccination sites later this month starting with Gillette Stadium on June 14th.
This week, Las Vegas fully reopened. The city's Convention and Visitors Authority planning a massive Fourth of July fireworks display to mark a return to pre-pandemic times.
Some pre-pandemic sounds are filling New York City subway system this weekend for the first time in over 14 months. The city's metro transit authority resumed its popular Music Under New York program, after being paused by the pandemic.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: The good news is that a lot of us are starting to feel a bit more normal. And the economic recovery is moving along with, but employers are seeing an unexpected side effect. Workers who have gotten used to remote work and are not willing to come back to the office.
We're going to speak to one woman who decided to quit her job rather than be forced back into the office full time.
WALKER: The new jobs report is showing positive signs. The economy is making a comeback, but maybe not as fast as some had hoped. The latest report shows the U.S added nearly 560,000 jobs last month.
SANCHEZ: No question it's a big number but it's still slightly lower than what economists expected. CNN business chief correspondent Christine Romans has more.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Boris and Amara, a solid jobs report. 559,000 jobs added back, double the rate of job creation from that disappointing April.
Vaccinations and reopenings are fueling a roaring post-COVID economy. The hiring spurt pulled the jobless rate down to 5.8 percent.
As pandemic restrictions have eased, leisure and hospitality showed strong jobs growth, almost 300,000 jobs there added back. There were further gains in manufacturing, education, health care, and social assistance; some losses in construction. Overall, the economy is still down 7.6 million jobs since the pandemic began.
Now, some employers complain they can't find workers indeed. COVID disrupted the jobs market especially for low-wage front-line workers. About half the states are cutting off those extra jobless benefits. They're trying to lure people back into the jobs market.
But economists at the San Francisco fed found that jobless benefits are only a small part of the problem; child care, school, and health concerns mean family responsibilities are holding millions of workers back. Even as the economy roars, healing the jobs market may take a little time. Boris, Amara?
SANCHEZ: And Christine Romans, thanks for that report.
With vaccination rates climbing and COVID cases falling, many Americans are returning to the office for the first time in more than a year, though some don't want to go back. And what could be a sign of the new normal, a recent survey found, one in four American workers are considering quitting their current jobs once the pandemic ends. And overwhelmingly, they want jobs with more flexibility.
Nearly 40 percent of those working remotely saying that if their employer won't let them keep working from home, they are willing to walk. With us this morning, we have someone who did just that. Portia Twidt joins us now.
Portia, we're very grateful to have you that you're sharing your story with us. You say that you left your job early -- earlier this year after your boss forced you to come into the office for a meeting that you said could have been an e-mail. You had to scramble to get care for your two kids, the meeting lasted all of six minutes.
Walk us through what happened and what was on your mind when you decided this is enough.
PORTIA TWIDT, PROGRAM MANAGER: Yes. So, what happened was going a little bit back. We had some -- we were really excited. We heard that there was a vaccine coming. And so, we heard that oh we're going to transition back into coming into the office, and there was pushback. And because there was so much pushback, they offered a compromise. And the compromise was you can work remotely unless a meeting was called.
TWIDT: And so, what ended up happening was I felt like there was just a boomer power play. Meetings were starting to get scheduled and called so that we were forced into the office, and that happened to me, and I come to the office, and I realized I spent more time getting my kids ready, dropping them off at daycare, commuting than the actual meeting.
As a matter of fact, the meeting was so short I had to look at my phone several times to really check, did this really just happen? Did I really spend all the time getting ready for nothing? The meeting was literally six minutes.
SANCHEZ: That's -- yes. I want to dig into something that you mentioned, boomer power play. Because there seems to be a generational divide emerging over returning to the office.
In fact, there was a survey recently done last month. It showed that 39 percent of roughly a thousand American workers would consider quitting if their employers weren't flexible about working from home.
But among younger workers, millennials, and Gen-Zers, that number nearly half. Explain this boomer power play. You're suggesting that older bosses don't think employees are working unless they're in an office building.
TWIDT: Boris, yes, they -- it was really confusing, because everyone keeps saying the phrase, return to work, I don't understand that. We never stopped working during the pandemic. We just worked remotely.
And so, all of a sudden because the vaccine's out, they're saying, oh, you could come into the office so that you can return to work. We never stopped working.
The fact to the matter is, it's a generational mindset shift. Our generation, I'm a millennial, we believe that we can combine work and life and have a beautiful balance using the amazing technology that we have today.
Unfortunately, some of our older colleagues think if I can't see you, you're not working, and the data doesn't prove that. It shows that we were more productive and a lot of our employers made a lot of money during the pandemic because we were productive.
SANCHEZ: Now, we've heard from a lot of employers who say that innovation is stifled because one of the things that breeds innovation is having people in a room sort of spitballing and that no matter how great our technology is, you won't get that sort of improvisation.
Do you feel limited at all in any way from working from home, whether it's in your own ability to get things done to connect with co- workers, or perhaps in your ability to advance and learn from someone by watching them in person?
TWIDT: I think that's hilarious. Honestly, Boris, I respectfully disagree with that opinion. I think I am more innovative. Millennials and Generation Z love technology, right? So, we're constantly engaging, we're having new thoughts, we're having a new ideas. We approach work and life differently.
The fact that idea that I have to physically be in the office to be creative doesn't seem right. I mean, and it's not even accurate. Some of our best ideas come at all times of the day.
And I really do believe that by opening up the concept of working remote and having flexibility, you're not just spurring more innovation. I wish employers understood you're opening up work to an entire segment of American workers who don't always get to work, and I'm talking about disabled people.
By offering remote flexible work, you never have to emit or say that you're disabled, you have opportunity, and that's really important.
And so, if you get a segment of people who historically have not been included in working, and doesn't that spur innovation, you're getting different opinions. I think remote work actually makes innovation easier.
SANCHEZ: And what hasn't been said is the ways in which having to go back to the office in an abrupt way disproportionately affects women, right? And having to deal with child care as you did.
Portia Twidt, we have to leave the conversation there. But again, we really appreciate it.
TWIDT: Of course.
SANCHEZ: Thanks for sharing your perspective.
TWIDT: Thank you for having me, Boris. Have a great day.
SANCHEZ: Of course, you too.
NEW DAY is right back after a quick break. Stay with us.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dragon now 56 meters away from the International Space Station as it flies over the coast of Japan.
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WALKER: It's always just so cool. That was a SpaceX cargo ship docking this morning at the International Space Station.
SANCHEZ: Yes, the ship blasted off from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday. It's delivering 7,300 pounds of research equipment and supplies, including new solar arrays for the space station. This was actually the 22nd resupply mission for SpaceX.
WALKER: Oh boy, don't bust my bubble on this because I eat one almost every week, I would say. But are those trendy acai bowls healthy? I hope they are. Or are they just sugar loaded calorie bombs?
In today's "FOOD AS FUEL", CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard takes a look.
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (on camera): Acai bowls, they are a popular breakfast and also instagramable. But big question, are they healthy?
Well, acai bowls are made from pureed acai berries, then topped with fruit. So, it's basically a smoothie in a bowl. And Acai berries are rich in antioxidants and most acai bowls will be high in fiber and vitamin c.
Since acai is naturally bitter, many restaurants and those pre-made frozen mixes use a sweetened powdered acai.
HOWARD: Acai bowls made commercially could contain up to 1,000 calories, not to mention a lot of sugar. So, go easy on the sugary toppings like granola, chocolate, sweetened coconut, and honey. Instead, try berries and chia seeds as a topping.
And adding Greek yogurt to your bowl is a good way to add protein to the meal and it will keep you full longer.
Bottom line, acai bowls can be a great way to add fruit to your diet but watch your portion size. And remember, all those toppings make it easy to go overboard on calories and sugar.
SANCHEZ: Thanks for that, Jacqueline Howard.
Hey, stay with us. NEW DAY continues after a few minutes.