Businesses looking forward as end of unemployment funding nears
JACKSON, Tenn. — The state of Tennessee is ending multiple federally-funded pandemic unemployment programs in July.
WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reporter Conley Grayson Norris spoke with local businesses and employment agencies, and both say it will be a step in the right direction.
They hope to see more applicants looking for jobs, sooner rather than later.
“There’s more to work than just a paycheck. There’s a dignity in work, and a problem that a lot of people don’t understand is the longer you’re out of the workforce, you lose very important skills that employers are looking for,” said Ronnie Morris, owner of Express Employment.
In a news release, the state of Tennessee says it will be ending Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation.
This will be effective July 3.
Morris says they currently have over 400 job openings they are still struggling to fill due many people staying home on unemployment, rather than looking for a job.
He says if you’re not working, you may lose those skill sets, and it could be harder to find a job when you’re ready.
“It does not solve our problems today. We still have a lot of job openings, but as we get closer to July the 3, we’re confident we will see a much more positive impact of people wanting to go back to work. So it’s a big step in the right direction,” Morris said.
Brooks Shaw, general manager at the Old Country Store, says the funding may have encouraged people to stay home instead of work.
“It was really kind of incentivizing, not only people to go out and shop, but other people to stay home. If people were making just as much, if not more, staying at home than working a position, so there wasn’t any incentive to go work. Whereas, we like to say we’re giving people a stimulus check every two weeks,” Shaw said.
Shaw hopes to see the pool of qualified applicants growing over the next few weeks.
“I think if people are smart, they will start looking sooner than later because not every job is going to last and businesses need people now,” Shaw said.
District 79 State Rep. Curtis Halford says ending the funding encourages many people to go back to work.
“I think it will be an incentive for people to go back to work and give them a good reason to go back to work,” Halford said. “I think people are better and happier when their back at work, but right now, heck you could make more sitting at home.”
The Tennessee Workforce Development System is ready to help Tennesseans return to the workforce.
Career specialists are available to help job seekers match with new employment opportunities at more than 80 American Job Centers across the state.
To find more information on programs available to help people back into the workforce, click here.