This Week in Connecticut: Federal COVID unemployment benefits expire. What does it mean for the state workforce?

Connecticut

(WTNH) — Nearly 18 months after Congress came to the rescue of jobless Americans, its historic expansion of the nation’s unemployment benefits system has now expired. In Connecticut, labor officials say that impacts about 125,000 filers.

What does that mean for you if you are still looking for a job?

RELATED: CT $300 weekly unemployment supplement now expired; around 125,000 weekly filers impacted

Losing the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FDUC) means you will no longer get the $300-week supplement.

The Hartford Restaurant Group – which owns the “Wood-n-Tap” chain – like many restaurants across the state, is hiring across the board. Their director of operations tells News 8, “We have felt the challenges over the last year this has been an unprecedented situation for everyone.”

The now-expired CARES ACT lifeline was in addition to a $600-a-week boost. Unemployed workers were making more money staying home.

Bryan Demeers says even the supply chain suffered. “Even our vendors, our purveyors…they’ve had trouble getting drivers – people picking trucks in order to supply us. At times we’ve had to take our own trailers and trucks to go pick up our own products.”

Connecticut kept the subsidy in place longer than others.

Governor Ned Lamont was criticized and defended his position. “Half the states got rid of the $300 payment and they did not get a lot more people back into the workforce. There’s still a lot of caution about COVID and a lot of reluctance.”

The governor is keenly aware of the issue. Launching this announcement on Labor Day highlighting policy changes like the state’s new program: “There’s a $1,000 signing bonus for those of you who want to take a job.”

RELATED: CT residents to receive first-round of Back to Work CT signing bonus payments this week

Connecticut’s unemployment rate in July was 7.3%, compared to the same time last year when it was 10%.

“Now is the time for you to think about getting your job back, getting back to work, and making a difference,” said Lamont.

Nationwide, only 235,000 jobs were added in August, far less than economists expected. CTDOL says more than 32,000 workers re-entered the state labor pool this summer. Far from recovering all jobs lost to COVID. Officials say schools are back in session, daycare spots are opening, and the state’s high vaccination rate is helping.

The state’s Back to Work Program with a $1,000 signing bonus, American Job Centers – Job search assistance, and the CTHires – State Job Bank can help too.

State Dept. of Labor officials say filers should continue to do their weekly certification. $9.7 billion in unemployment has been given out by CTDOL since the beginning of the pandemic.

The State Labor Department is teaming up with Hartford Athletic Soccer Club. They are holding a Veteran and Diversity hiring expo on Tuesday. Each person who registers will also receive a free ticket to the soccer match scheduled for that night.

If you have questions about your benefits you can contact CTDOL consumer center here.

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