Alabamians on unemployment won’t be getting benefits from federal pandemic compensation programs after June 19. The decision was made in part to help businesses find workers for jobs that have increasingly been left unfilled nationwide as the pandemic has worn on.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Monday that Alabama will end its participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs, effective June 19. Any filings made prior to and up to June 19 will be eligible for compensation under those programs.
Ivey also announced that the Alabama Department of Labor has reinstated the work search requirement for individuals to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Data from the National Federation of Independent Business show that small business owners have been unable to fill many openings. In April, a record 44% of all small business owners reported having job openings they could not fill, up 22 points from the 48-year average and up two points from March.
Experiences reflective of this statistic led Ivey to make the decision to pull these benefits.
“As Alabama’s economy continues its recovery, we are hearing from more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant,” Ivey said in the press release. “Among other factors, increased unemployment assistance, which was meant to be a short-term relief program during emergency related shutdowns, is now contributing to a labor shortage that is compromising the continuation of our economic recovery.”
Alabama’s unemployment rate is at 3.8%, the lowest in the Southeast and lower than the national average. Job postings are also up across the state; Fitzgerald Washington, ADOL Secretary, said that there are more job ads posted now than prior to the pandemic.
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“We have announced the end date of our state of emergency, there are no industry shutdowns, and daycares are operating with no restrictions,” Ivey said. “Vaccinations are available for all adults. Alabama is giving the federal government our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work.”
The programs Ivey announced Alabama will no longer participate in include Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation; Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for those who don’t typically qualify, like part-time, self-employed or gig workers; Pandemic Emergency Employment Compensation, which provides benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted; and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, which provides $100 per week to those with artificially low unemployment benefits as part of their earnings comes from W-2 wages.
The press release also includes that free job services are available to all Alabamians through the Alabama Career Center System, which operates 53 centers throughout the state. Services include resume preparation, interviewing skills, job search and application assistance, vocational and educational training programs, and apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs.
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