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Alabama to end use of all federal pandemic unemployment compensation programs

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 11:12 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office is moving to end the state’s participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs, citing businesses that are struggling to find employees to fill a number of available positions.

“Alabama is giving the federal government our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work,” Ivey said, explaining that “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.”

Alabama will pull out of multiple programs as of June 19, but will continue to allow those eligible under any of the following federal programs to continue being paid until that time:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides for an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation.
  • 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,
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides for an extension of benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted, and
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provides an additional $100 benefit to certain people with mixed earnings.

“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 said .

“Our Department of Labor is reporting that there are more available jobs now than prior to the pandemic. Jobs are out there,” Ivey said. “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 not alone among states that are starting to push those jobless because of the pandemic to begin seeking work again.

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. A listing of Career Centers can be found HERE.

Alabama’s current unemployment rate stands at a region low 3.8 percent and is also significantly below the national average.

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