This is it, the final week.
Here in Texas, it's the end of the extra Covid unemployment benefits. The additional $300 per week was part of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
Governor Greg Abbott announced last month that Texas would opt out on June 26th, which means many workers who were making more each month to stay at home? Will now have to go back to work.
Several leaders, like state representative Steve Toth believe it's long overdue. "Yes, this has been a real eye opener" Toth told KTRH, "It's been nearly impossible to get people off the couch, and back into the work force."
But with that said, the states that already pulled the plug on the extra federal benefits are still having a hard time filling jobs. "There's a malaise that set in to the work force across the United States" Toth said, "And it's not going to turn around until I guess people run out of money."
Bill Hammond, the former president of the Texas Association of Business told KTRH, "It's understandable that someone would take advantage of it, but the additional income has had a negative effect on people going back to work. Unemployment insurance was never intended to replace every penny, and more of you post employment period. It was intended to help you out while you were searching for work."
According to the TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) there are more than one million job openings in the state of Texas. Nearly 45% pay more than $15.50 per hour, and roughly 76% pay higher than $11.50 an hour.
"80% of the jobs created are from small businesses like mine, and we are under an amazing crunch right now" said Toth, who owns his own business in addition to being a state representative. "The states that have cut the benefits off have still not seen workers come back, and that's the struggle."
It's time to get back to work.