Unemployment benefits expire for millions

Unemployment benefits expire for millions
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:42 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Millions of American workers have lost unemployment benefits. This includes people who are self employed or have been out of work for more than 6 months. Another benefit that has expired is the extra $300 a week from the federal government.

Once local man is feeling the effects of these changes. Greg Priestapp got laid off during the pandemic and the only places he could find that were hiring were manual labor roles. He told News 10 that, as a man in his 60s, he had to completely change his career path.

“I’m in my 60s. Not many people want to hire people in their 60s,” said Priestapp.

He said the extra unemployment funds were the reason he was able to take classes to switch career paths. The pandemic made him realize he had to adapt.

“I started taking classes to revert my career in a different direction because of this. It made me think and now I’m going to be more stable in the long term. I’m trying to not use resources, I’m trying to be resourceful,” said Priestapp.

MSU Economics Professor Scott Imberman told News 10 that, while this may get more people in the doors of businesses looking for workers, ending many unemployment benefits isn’t the solution to resolving the ongoing labor shortage.

“There may be a little bit of an increase in people entering the labor market and searching for jobs but I suspect that’s going to be relatively low and what you’ll probably end up with a lot people who were relying on the income and still rely on it because of the pandemic,” said Imberman.

Imberman said the pandemic has created new factors impacting the labor shortage.

  1. Parents are hesitant to get jobs because of the inconsistency of their children’s schedules.
  2. People are scared for their own safety at the workplace.

He anticipates a small growth in the number of available workers, but said an economic recovery will take time.

“We need to get past these large outbreaks in order to really make sure the economy and labor market is on stable footing,” said Imberman.

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