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Alabama joins states ending pandemic unemployment assistance

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that Alabama will end its participation in all federally funded...
Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that Alabama will end its participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs, effective June 19, 2021.(source: WMC Action News 5)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 2:21 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTOK) - Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that Alabama will end its participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs, effective June 19, 2021.

Ivey said the programs were intended to be short-term relief only.

“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,” said Ivey.

Ivey said the assistance is now contributing to a labor shortage and slowing recovery from the pandemic.

The programs include:
1. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides for an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation.
2. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits for those who would not usually qualify, such as the self-employed, gig workers, and part-time workers,
3. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides for an extension of benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted, and
4. Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provides an additional $100 benefit to certain people with mixed earnings.

Any weeks filed prior to and up to June 19 and are eligible under any of the federal program requirements will continue to be processed under these programs.

“Alabama has an unemployment rate of 3.8%, the lowest in the southeast, and significantly lower than the national unemployment rate. Our Department of Labor is reporting that there are more available jobs now than prior to the pandemic. Jobs are out there,” said Ivey. “We have announced the end date of our state of emergency, there are no industry shutdowns, and daycares are operating with no restrictions. Vaccinations are available for all adults. Alabama is giving the federal government our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work.”

ADOL has reinstated the work search requirement for all claimants, which was temporarily waived during the height of the pandemic. This requires all claimants to actively search for work to remain eligible for unemployment benefits.

“We have more posted job ads now than we did in either February or March 2020,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Ads for workers in the leisure and hospitality industry are up by 73%. Overall, ads are up by nearly 40%. There are plenty of opportunities available in multiple industries in Alabama.”

Free job services are available to all Alabamians through the Alabama Career Center System, which operates 53 centers throughout the state. Services include résumé preparation, interviewing skills, job search and application assistance, vocational and educational training programs, and apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs. A listing of Career Centers can be found HERE.

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