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Regional News

Many unemployment benefits ended amid continued labor shortage

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Madison Ruffo
/
WRVO Public Media
A sign posted at Twin Trees on Syracuse's far westside due to the labor shortage.

For nearly a year and a half, Americans who were struggling to make ends meet amid the pandemic had state and federal assistance to help them get by. However, as of Labor Day, several of those benefits are gone.

The five discontinued federal programs that once helped millions of struggling Americans are the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Extended Benefits, $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and $100 Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation.

This change has left economists like Liz Schmitt, an economics professor at SUNY Oswego, wondering how this will impact the labor shortage many have called the “great resignation."

“There’s clearly something going on in households where people still feel they can get by because we just haven't seen the big movement into back into labor supply and there's still some chronic labor shortage in a lot of industries,” said Schmitt.

Schmitt deduced the labor shortage down to a couple of key problems. One is, of course, people stepping away from their jobs for a number of reasons — maybe they’re underpaid, want to explore other opportunities, or are considering a fundamental change in their careers.

Another cause, Schmitt said, is that many of the skills employers are looking for don’t match the skills of those looking for work.

“You have this game of musical chairs, where there may be enough chairs for everybody. But there are different kinds of chairs and only certain people can sit in certain kinds of chairs,” she said.

While it may be too early to tell what this benefits change will do to unemployment numbers and those still struggling to make ends meet, Schmitt expects to see the impacts on the nationwide labor shortage very quickly.