State trade associations call on Gov. Edwards to end enhanced unemployment


FILE – In this Sept. 2, 2020 file photo, a customer wears a face mask as they carry their order past a now hiring sign at an eatery in Richardson, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — A group of 10 business organizations have penned a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards urging him to end enhanced unemployment in Louisiana as businesses suffer a worker shortage in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To download and read the entire letter to Gov. Edwards, click below:

“The state’s unemployment rate remains higher than it was pre-pandemic and initial jobless claims increased in the past week,” states the letter. “Our coalition would respectfully ask that the state end the additional UI federal benefits. We believe this additional benefit was an important short-term solution to help individuals who were adversely impacted at the start of the pandemic.”

The letter also advocates for redirecting redirect “available federal dollars toward incentivizing return-to-work and/or retraining initiatives for Louisianans who may have lost their jobs during the pandemic but have struggled to re-enter the workforce.”

“Only a few months ago, businesses were scaling back, reducing hours, and limiting services because of the COVID-19 restrictions,” said Dawn McVea, the State Director for the National Association of Independent Business. “Now, they’re doing it because they can’t find enough people to work.” 

The organizations that signed onto the letter include: Associated Builders and Contractors, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Louisiana Business Group on Health, Louisiana Homebuilders Association, Louisiana Manufactured Housing Association, Louisiana Oil Marketers and Convenience Store Association, Louisiana Restaurant Association, Louisiana Retailers Association, Louisiana Motor Transport Association, and National Federation of Independent Business.

The letter asks Edwards to join the 17 other states that have already ended federal unemployment benefits, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming. Both Montana and Arizona offered workers a one-time bonus to return to work.

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