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State to end all federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits

Parson cites need to encourage return to workforce

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri will end participation in all federal pandemic-related jobless insurance programs as of June 13.

Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, is taking the step in order, he said Tuesday in a statement, to address workforce shortages across the state. He directed the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to notify the U.S. Department of Labor that Missouri will step out of the federal program.

Parson said that “business owners across the state … are struggling not because of COVID-19 but because of labor shortages resulting from these excessive federal unemployment programs.” 

“It’s time that we end these programs that have ultimately incentivized people to stay out of the workforce,” Parson declared. 

And Lieut. Gov. Mike Kehoe, in the same statement, backed up Parson’s decision. Kehoe said, “Across every industry, businesses cannot compete against federal largesse. … [W]e should be cultivating job-creation and employment rather than inhibiting them.”

“Even with unemployment at only 4.2 percent, there are still 221,266 known job postings across the state,” Parson said. “The solution to close this gap is not the excessive spending of taxpayer dollars by the federal government, but rather getting people back to work and to a sense of normalcy for themselves and their families.” 

In July, Missouri required jobless claimants to again conduct weekly work searches. This had been waived in March 2020 as part of an agreement with the federal government to receive funds under the CARES Act. 

Under Missouri’s law, claimants are required to perform and report three work search activities per week. Qualified work search activities include filing an application (online or in-person) with an employer or through job posting sites or attending a job fair, job interview, reemployment service, or skills workshop.  

Information about Missouri unemployment is available at labor.mo.gov.

Staff

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