Local businesses still struggling to find workers as unemployment benefits end

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 7 million out-of-work Americans will lose all of their unemployment benefits this week.

As the federal programs put in place in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic expired Monday. It seems no matter where you go, “Now Hiring” signs fill the streets, as businesses desperately looking for workers. Most of the signs have been on display for months as a labor shortage continues, as the economy looks to bounce back during the pandemic.

Nearly 300,000 people in Massachusetts lost unemployment benefits as a lifeline from the federal government ends on Labor Day. Smaller businesses are hoping the elimination of the enhanced federal unemployment insurance will help bring back workers.

“That’s what I’m hoping that would be great to see because we certainly could use some help,” said George Rodriguez, sales manager at Manny’s Appliance in Wilbraham.

Rodriguez told 22News his Manny’s has been open throughout the entire pandemic. They are listed as essential businesses, but like many, they too struggle to find help.

“We are hiring for warehouse positions, sales positrons across both of our stores that we have,” he continued. “It’s difficult, no one is applying for work. It’s quite remarkable actually.”

According to Mass.gov, there are currently 200,000 available jobs in Massachusetts, and Manny’s management is hoping to take their “Now Hiring” sign down soon. The Biden administration says individual states can choose to extend those benefits through existing federal funds. Massachusetts lawmakers did not choose to do so.

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