State pushes unemployed out of virus recession and returns to work

Stowe, Vermont (AP) —Eduardo Lovett has revived Vermont’s reinstated requirement that people collecting unemployment benefits must seek work to qualify in the resort town of Stowe. We hope to help you hire enough staff for your restaurant.

After more than a year of coronavirus restrictions on his business Piecasso Pizzeria & Lounge, he expects a breakout in the summer tourist season, but he doesn’t have enough workers like employers across the country. I’m worried that it might be.

“There are many excuses for why we’re not coming back,” said Robetto, who offers up to $ 600 in contracts to add 15 to 20 employees who agree to stay until mid-October. Told. “Obviously, it was legal with COVID, but as you know, I think it’s becoming more and more obsolete now. The vaccine is free and available to everyone.”

Many employers have a similar story. Fourteen months after COVID-19 unemployed hundreds of thousands of people, the US economy is recovering and employers are anxious for workers.

This challenge is highlighted when employers across the country add 266,000 jobs on Friday, far less than expected, and companies find people to fill the openings needed to catch up with the rapidly growing economic recovery. I reported that I couldn’t.

More states are making it harder for people to stay unemployed to encourage people to get back to work. Many blame simple post-pandemic benefits. This includes state benefits plus an additional federal payment of $ 300 per week. The argument is that people make more money at home than when they return to work.

Some states have begun demanding that those receiving unemployment benefits show that they are actively looking for a job, and some states will stop offering additional federal supplements.

The hospitality sector isn’t the only place to scramble to fill positions. Based in Milford, New Hampshire, Alene Candles aims to fill 1,500 positions in its facilities in Milford, New Hampshire and New Albany, Ohio to meet holiday demand. This month, company representatives will attend a number of virtual job fairs.

“More than 100 positions have been open since the beginning of the year, and we just recently increased our sign-on bonus to $ 1,200 for hourly positions, which is competing with entities that can print their money. That’s because the federal government — and an additional $ 300 unemployment benefit that week, “said CEO Rod Haar. “I would like to welcome people who are looking for a job to join our team.”

Labor experts say the shortfall isn’t just about paying $ 300. Some unemployed people are hesitant to look for a job for fear of getting a virus. Others have found a new profession rather than returning to an old job. And many women, especially working mothers, had to leave the workforce to care for their children.

The details and timing of state-led efforts to get people back to work vary, but they come from states led by both Republicans and Democrats.

In addition to Vermont, the states that will reinstate job search requirements include Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

“As President Reagan said, the best social program is work,” Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey said when he announced the resumption of job-seeking requirements. “This statement is true today. Unemployment benefits are still available to Arizona people who need them, but now that more jobs are available, those who receive unemployment benefits are willing to look for jobs. is needed.”

Montana, South Carolina and Arkansas plan to stop accepting $ 300 benefits.

Republican Governor Greg Gianforte last week announced that the unemployed would not receive a $ 300 profit from June 27, saying it was “more harmful than good.”

Rachel Mata, area manager for a staffing agency based in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has found it increasingly difficult to find a job since the latest federal COVID-19 bailout bill was passed. Said that.

“We get a candidate who says,’Hey, you know, why am I going to work when I’m unemployed and getting more salary to sit home?'” Said.

At a recent job fair, only one candidate appeared, the company’s Mega Force Staffing Group Inc. Says Mata, who focuses primarily on the manufacturing industry. In other cases, the candidate simply does not appear on the start date after going through the staffing agency’s onboarding process.

William Spriggs, an economist at Howard University and chief economist at the AFL-CIO, said the issue was not simple enough for the unemployed to benefit more. He says the economy has changed.

He didn’t think the job hunting requirements were bad, but said it wouldn’t solve the labor shortage.

“Matching workers and employers isn’t as easy as people think, and that’s what some of these employers are finding,” says Spriggs.

There may be a lot of work, but it may not be suitable for the unemployed with professional work skills.

“I’m a master technician with 30 years of experience. Do you think I’m going to work in a pet store?” Said Harry Chaikin, a non-working stage clerk in Burlington, Vermont.

Chaikin says he wants to get back to work when the theater resumes regular performances. He is unemployed, including a $ 300 supplementary benefit, but rent is still a few months behind.

“The optimistic feeling I feel is that human nature is that. Sooner or later people will regroup into large groups to entertain, and when that happens I will work.” He said.

And people are still losing their jobs.

Crystal Dvorak, 41, an audiologist in Billings, Montana, with her two teenage daughters, survived a temporary dismissal early in the pandemic and was deeply immersed in her savings, but she worked last month. I learned that I would lose my job at the clinic I was in. Almost 9 years have been sold.

Jean Forte announced on June 27 that Dvorak’s second day of unemployment, the $ 300 allowance, will end.

“It shed me in tears,” she said.

After learning that unemployment benefits would be abolished and replaced by a $ 1,200 return to work, a one-time bonus, Dvorak began applying for waitress jobs, despite potentially complicating searches. I did.

“I know that change is coming, so I have to be open to other positions,” she said. “Last week, I was more interested in more jobs than I applied for 25 years of work.”

Contributed by Associated Press writers Sararankin in Richmond, Virginia, Iris Samuels in Helena, Montana, Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, and reporters from state legislators across the country.