Texas governor Greg Abbott on Friday defended his decision to end the state’s unemployment surge after thousands of people signed a petition urging the Republican official to reverse his step.

“We have the demand for a workforce that people can return to work and the numbers in our state are safe enough for people to return to work,” Abbott said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street.

“It’s time for America to get back to work,” said the Republican governor.

Abbott announced earlier this month that effective June 26, the state would reject the federally signed federal unemployment assistance programs in an effort to ease the economic burden of the Covid-19 pandemic.

These programs included a weekly $ 300 supplement to state unemployment benefits. At least 23 states have restricted use of federal unemployment programs.

Abbott said he had “the math behind this reasoning”.

“We have more vacancies than people in unemployment insurance, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. In addition, 18% of jobless claims submitted have been found to be fraudulent,” Abbott said.

A majority of Americans support the state’s efforts to end the rise in unemployment at the federal level, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found.

In Texas, the decision has caused some setbacks among those who say stopping the extra help will cause more pain to those already suffering. A petition asking Abbott to reverse his move has received approximately 8,000 signatures.

Abbott said Friday that ending the federal boost was critical to opening the state fully.

“The biggest challenge I hear from employers is that Texas is 100% open, employers are trying to hire, but restaurants and shops and other types of businesses can’t open as much as they want because they can’t win Access to the staff who need to open them, “he said.

“One of the biggest challenges is making sure employers can get workers there so we can truly be a fully open economy,” said Abbott.

Economists are unsure whether the rise in federal unemployment is causing potential workers to remain unemployed longer.

A working paper released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggested that the $ 300 increase could have little impact on job seekers’ willingness to take up jobs.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, said he doesn’t think the $ 300 surge is causing individuals to turn down jobs.

“Americans want to work,” he said earlier this month.

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