Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has ended all federal pandemic unemployment compensation programs in the state as of July 3.

Last month, Tennessee joined 21 states with Republican governors who said the enhanced federal benefits made it difficult for businesses to hire people for job openings.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced on May 10 that Alabama will no longer participate in federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs starting June 19.

“As Alabama’s economy continues its recovery, we are hearing from more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant,” Ivey, a Republican, said in a statement.

“Among other factors, increased unemployment assistance, which was meant to be a short-term relief program during emergency-related shutdowns, is now contributing to a labor shortage that is compromising the continuation of our economic recovery.”

Others, however, said the pandemic created problems such as erratic school openings, childcare duties, a lingering virus threat and what was at the time was relatively low vaccinations among working-age Americans.

Federal pandemic unemployment programs that will expire in Tennessee on July 3, Include:

Federal pandemic unemployment compensation, which provides for an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation.

Pandemic unemployment assistance, which provides benefits for those who would usually not qualify, including self-employed, gig workers and part-time workers.

Pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, which provides for an extension of benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted.

Mixed earner unemployment compensation, which provides an additional $100 benefit to certain people with mixed earnings.

Unemployment claimants in Tennessee have been required to complete three weekly job searches to remain eligible for benefits since Oct. 4, 2020.

Lee, in a statement last month, said, “We will no longer participate in federal pandemic unemployment programs because Tennesseans have access to more than 250,000 jobs in our state.

“Families, businesses and our economy thrive when we focus on meaningful employment and move on from short-term federal fixes.”

The federal program will continue until Sept. 6 in states that have not ended the federal compensation.

The Tennessee Workforce Development System will help Tennesseans return to the workforce, according to Lee’s May statement.

Career specialists will help job seekers match with new employment opportunities at more than 80 American Job Centers in Tennessee, Lee’s statement said.

The specialists can work to identify possible training programs that can help an individual change a career path or enter an apprenticeship program so they can earn a competitive wage while they learn a new trade.

The Tennessee Virtual Job Center, www.TNVirtualAJC.com allows residents to research different programs that can help remove barriers to employment so they can more easily reenter Tennessee’s workforce, the statement said.

When federal pandemic unemployment compensation ends in Tennessee July 3, claimants are urged by the state to search for work at www.Jobs4TN.gov, which had more than 250,000 job postings in May.

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