Facebook question of the week: Will people get back to work now that CARES Act benefits have expired?

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfl.com
Posted 9/15/21

CLAY COUNTY – Three pandemic-era unemployment benefits established by a 2020 CARES Act have expired and it could affect the state’s current labor shortage, according to some experts.

The …

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Facebook question of the week: Will people get back to work now that CARES Act benefits have expired?

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Three pandemic-era unemployment benefits established by a 2020 CARES Act have expired and it could affect the state’s current labor shortage, according to some experts.

The benefits which have expired are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers people not usually eligible for financial aid; Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides aid to those who have already used up all of their aid from the state; and, and Federal Unemployment Compensation, which was additional aid tacked onto other funding aid to help people recover money lost due to COVID-19.

Some feel these benefits have kept workers out of the workforce. Many now feel those workers will feel more motivated to return to the workforce, thus putting an end, or at least provide some relief, to the state’s current labor shortage.

Others, though, argue that the labor shortage is less a result of unemployment benefits and more the result of workers wanting better wages and not accepting jobs with traditionally low wages. We asked Clay Today readers what they thought of all this and here’s what they had to say:

“Pay a living wage of at least $15 an hour and there will be no labor shortage,” Susan Trumble said, suggesting wages are creating the labor shortage.

Trumble said $15 which will soon be the minimum wage in Florida in a couple of years after residents voted for the increase. With so many aware a higher minimum wage is coming, perhaps they feel that $15 is what they should be earning now. On the other side of the conversation, Bev Biroschik said that “if you have to pay $15 an hour for a $7 an hour job, there will be a labor shortage,” and they believe once benefits end, more people will return to work.

“I see plenty of places hiring [so] I wouldn’t call it a labor shortage,” Christopher Marra said. “I’d call it a willingness to work shortage.”

Penny Ruller said essential workers and have been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She said people simply need to get up and get back to their old jobs. She said some believe the pandemic is over.

Vishi Garaig and Kali Carnes responded and said they would “hope” the labor shortage comes to an end now that unemployment benefits are coming to an end. Doug Deters responded and said he knows that the school district desperately needs bus drivers and support staff and they encourage anyone who now needs a job to apply for one of those jobs.

What do you think of the current labor shortage in Florida and the rest of the country? Will the end of COVID-19 unemployment benefits affect the shortage? Let us know by responding to last week’s Facebook Question of the Week and be sure to follow the official Clay Today Newspaper page so that you don’t miss this week’s question.

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