unemployment in connecticut

CT Small Business Owners Hope Labor Shortage Will End as Some Lose Unemployment Benefits

State unemployment benefits will continue uninterrupted.

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Starting this week, unemployment checks will be a less. The $300 federal subsidy that had been added as part of the CARES Act ended Sept. 4.

According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, 125,000 weekly filers will be affected in our state.

Joyce Marie of East Hartford said she’s sympathetic toward those who will no longer be receiving the additional $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).

“I think it’s sad because people need money to survive, pay bills,” said Marie.

While the federal assistance will no longer be available, state unemployment benefits will continue with no interruption. Something Marie says her sister, who has been out of work for over a year, will rely on until her situation changes.

“She’s good with computers. So hopefully she can find a job soon,” Marie added.

Some employers though are hoping this may get prospective workers in the door. Carlos Ortiz owns Sol de Borinquen Bakery in Hartford and says the federal unemployment assistance has made it difficult to find enough employees.

“They are given more to stay home than to come out and produce,” said Ortiz.

Today, Ortiz’s bakery was busy with his staff working hard to fill orders. Ortiz said he normally employees 23 people but now only 18.

“We’re short staffed so for me and for most of my employees, we're working about 50, 60 hours a week. Myself, I’m putting in about 90 hours a week,” Ortiz said.

While the labor shortage continues for some, the Department of Labor said unemployment is declining. According to the most recent numbers, the unemployment rate dropped from 7.7% to 7.3% from June to July.

The owner of Glastonbury’s “2 Hopewell” restaurant, is cautiously optimistic the end of FPUC will bring more workers his way.

“I don’t really expect it as much as I’m hopeful that it’s going to happen,” said Bill Driggs.

Driggs also owns three other Glastonbury restaurants. For qualified, non-tipped employees, Driggs said he pays between 17 and 24 dollars an hour but still has had trouble finding people.

“Just in the last two weeks, we probably had 10 interviews scheduled and not one person showed up for the interviews,” Driggs explained.

As for the impact on the state’s economy, University of New Haven Adjunct Economics Professor John Rosen expects this to be relatively small. That’s because the 125,000 people affected is much less than the 3.5-million-person population.

“It’s a tiny number of people that are staying out of work for the $300 and it will be a percent of them that go back to work for the $300,” said Rosen.

For those looking for work, Connecticut’s Department of Labor offers resources which can be found here.

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