Gov. John Bel Edwards expects to end federal unemployment soon

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to end the federal unemployment benefits before the expiration date in September.

During a news conference Edwards said he’s been debating for months that August is a good cut off time for the payments.

“The jobs are coming back in Louisiana pretty quickly and at a good pace,” he said.

Andrew Fitzgerald with BRAC says ending federal enhancements is the step in the right direction.

“There is a perception that wages are really low, that these 33,000 jobs have low wages. But, the median is $22 an hour, which is very reasonable,” Fitzgerald said.

However, others are opposed. The Louisiana Budget Project conducts policy research for low and moderate-income communities.

Members of the Louisiana Budget Project say it is too soon to end the benefits.

“What they’re doing is yanking $1200 away from people at the time where they really need it,” Jan Moller, Lousiana Budget Project, said. ““The people who are getting these benefits are people who have just not found the kind of suitable job that compares to what they were doing to the pandemic.”

Due to the high unemployment rate, employers at Southern Pearl are offering incentives to attract applicants.

“We decided to raise our minimum wage from $11 to $12 an hour. We are offering hiring incentives as well — $100 signing bonus when you get hired and complete training, $200 on your second paycheck, and $300 dollars after you have been employed with us for 90 days,” Kelsey Griffin, marketing manager at Southern Pearl said.

Southern Pearl hopes more applications will roll in if the benefits come to an end soon.

Edwards is expected to make a final decision by the end of the week.

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