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End of extra unemployment benefits could get more back to work

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has chosen to end the federal pandemic unemployment aid. Some employers and other state officials agree it’s the best thing to do.

Baton Rouge Area Chamber research shows there are 33,000 jobs available in the Capital Region. Unemployment is up 6%. Before the pandemic, it was around 4%.

“A lot of things that have to happen to get back to normal but a big piece of that is this moment of not needing federal supplements anymore,” said BRAC CEO Adam Knapp. “We need folks to go use jobs to build their household income.”

RELATED: Gov. Edwards signs bill to end federal pandemic unemployment aid

Knapp added it’s gotten to the point where some employers are even trying to give out more incentives to workers, like more money. Right now, the average pay for a job is $22 an hour. Under federal and state benefits, recipients are only getting about $14.

“We always think it is just restaurants, the entertainment, or hospitality world. It is not. It’s kind of across the entire labor market. We see it in industrial construction firms. We see it everywhere at entry-level positions, even that pay above $20 an hour,” explained Knapp.

That is even being seen at grocery stores, like Rouses.

“It’s wide open right now, the possibilities … so we would love people to come in and interview with us,” said Donna Dickerson, who is the store manager for the Rouses off Lee Drive and Burbank Drive.

Rouses said it is hiring from managers to cashier clerks. Folks can simply walk in to get an application or apply online.

“We get people every day coming in and looking for jobs. Right now, we are hiring for all locations. So, any location you go into, you know, most people get interviewed if they are a great candidate and all through COVID, we’ve actually sustained great associates,” added Dickerson.

Rouses is not the only place looking for new employees. BRAC’s website has a list of job openings in the Capital Region.

Federal unemployment benefits will end July 31.

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