(CNN) – Once she was fully vaccinated in April, Lindsey Bates wanted to go back to work. A restaurant server with more than 20 years of experience, she thought she would have no problem finding a position as hospitality workers are in high demand and she has never been unemployed before.
That has not been the case. Although the Orlando, Florida, resident has applied for at least five jobs every day on Indeed and Facebook Marketplace, she has yet to be called in for an interview.
Now, you are facing a crisis. Florida is one of at least 24 states led by Republicans who recently announced that they will end pandemic unemployment benefits early, meaning Bates will lose the federal push of $ 300 weekly to the $ 275 he receives weekly in unemployment benefits at the end of June.
Although the combined pay is less than two-thirds of what she made at her last job, as a servant at IHOP, it kept her and her 5-year-old son afloat. She doesn’t know how she’s going to pay her $ 1,200-a-month rent without the $ 300 federal upgrade, which Congress approved in late December as part of a stimulus deal.
“I guess I’ll have to apply for 10 jobs. I’ll have to double it, ”said Bates, 40, who is beginning to look for positions outside of the hospital sector. I have to get a job.
Bates is among the roughly 4.1 million people who will see their federal unemployment payments end in the coming weeks, according to an estimate from The Century Foundation. At least 19 states will also end two other pandemic unemployment benefit programs that provide compensation for the self-employed, freelancers, independent contractors, certain people affected by the coronavirus and those who have been left without their regular state benefits.
The Democratic-led Congress extended all three programs through early September as part of its $ 1.9 trillion relief package in March. But Republican governors say the improved benefits are deterring people from returning to the workforce, causing worker shortages as the economy picks up.
They point to a multitude of job advertisements available in their states to support those claims. But the experience of people like Bates is a sign that getting people back to work is not so easy, and that measures to cut benefits will leave some people in dire straits.
Child care is a factor
The expanded benefits may drive some people to stay home, but the impact is minimal at best, according to various economic studies. Obstacles to returning to work include a lack of childcare, persistent fear of contracting the virus and a mismatch between the skills employers want and the unemployed, economists say.
Asilee Barnes, a Twinsburg, Ohio resident who will lose her $ 300 raise at the end of June, wants to work but has no one to care for her 3-year-old son.
Barnes had to quit his job as a technician at a microelectronics manufacturer early in the pandemic after his nanny died of coronavirus. His situation is even more complicated now that the school year is over, forcing him to also find care for his 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter in order to accept a job.
“If Covid hadn’t happened, I’d still be at work,” said Barnes, 33, who has no family or friends to turn to for help and tries to get subsidized child care so she can go to interviews and begin to work. “Sure there are jobs, but what does that mean for me if I can’t get there because of child care?”
Without the $ 300 federal upgrade, Barnes will only get $ 189 a week, making it difficult for her to pay for gas for her car, let alone meeting the needs for herself and her children.
Job listings but no interviews
Billy Litsey has been driving trucks for nearly three decades, a skill that has been in demand as the economy reopens. The Winter Springs, Florida, resident delivered coffee, donuts and other items to more than a dozen Dunkin Donuts stores until several closed in October. And even though he’s been responding to emails and texts asking him to apply for open positions, he says he doesn’t find out or doesn’t end up landing any jobs.
Litsey, who hasn’t driven long-distance trucks since the 1990s, called for a job with Coca-Cola three months ago, but was told there were 1,000 applicants for two positions. You have applied to Target, gas stations, and other places, but were told you are overqualified. And temporary trucking jobs are offering just $ 14 an hour, which would be a big pay cut for him.
The 46-year-old fears being overlooked because of his age or because he hasn’t driven since last fall. He then had to borrow money from his mother to support his disabled wife and two of his children, one of whom is also disabled, until he began receiving the $ 300 federal boost to his state payments. per week of approximately US $ 233 earlier this year.
With the end of the federal supplement looming, he’s considering moving back to Louisville, Kentucky, where he used to live, and he’s more confident that he could get a higher-paying trucking job. But he is reluctant to leave his family due to his health, and cannot afford to move them until he works for a few months.
“Even with my 30-year experience driving a semi, the jobs here are few and far between,” said Litsey, of the situation in Florida. “So people like me who do want to work can’t.”
The old jobs have not returned yet
For other jobless Americans, the reopening of the economy means their old jobs may return soon. But its benefits from the pandemic may run out first.
Jeff Good has worked in various management and production roles in the touring concert industry for decades. You don’t want to change careers just as more spots begin to be booked, hoping the job will land in the next few months.
A freelancer Having never qualified for unemployment benefits in the past, Good receives $ 108 a week from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which Congress created in March 2020 as part of its historic expansion of the unemployment system. And it gets the weekly boost of $ 300.
But the Nashville resident will no longer receive any payments after July 3, when the state ends all federal benefits for the pandemic. After that, he says that he will have to rely on the savings until he can secure a gig.
“The fact that our governor cancels the distribution of extended federal unemployment benefits two months before the original September deadline basically hurts me and many others in our business, during the summer of all time, when goods and services tend to peak in price, ”said 48-year-old Good.