Rude awakening awaits many unemployed Massachusetts [OPINION]
It is estimated that 303,590 Massachusetts residents receiving enhanced unemployment benefits under the federal government’s COVID relief programs will experience a rude awakening this week when those benefits expire.
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reports that as of Aug. 14, 363,882 people in Massachusetts were receiving unemployment benefits. Most claimants were receiving enhanced federal benefits. It all ends at the end of this week. Many will wish they had started looking for a job earlier rather than waiting until the last minute.
The State House News Service reports, “Only the 60,292 claimants under the state’s traditional unemployment insurance programs will continue to receive benefits. In other words, yuck! It’s time to panic, and a lot of people are panicking right now.
All summer we have seen companies advertise jobs, many offering ridiculous salaries, benefits, and in some cases signing bonuses to attract needed workers. Not sure if the beach was too much of a distraction for some unemployed people or if they were betting benefits would be extended, but here we are.
The State House News Service reports that Gov. Charlie Baker has offered to spend American Rescue Plan Act money to fund a $ 240 million workforce training program. The Massachusetts legislature has been cold to the idea so far.
No one who is about to lose their benefits should be shocked, and it is hard to feel sorry for them. They knew the end was drawing near, yet they waited until the last minute to start looking for a job. Finding the perfect opportunity suddenly became much more difficult. I suspect some of the plum’s incentives to flip burgers will dry up as more people re-enter the workforce.
Good luck! I hope everyone gets back on their feet.
Barry Richard is the host of the Barry Richard Show at 1420 WBSM New Bedford. It can be heard on weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.