Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday during an interview on Fox News that Georgia will reject the federal government’s $300 per week enhanced unemployment benefits.
“What I’m seeing on the ground here is that every small business owner and the workers that are currently working, they need more people. It is hurting our productivity, not only in Georgia, but across the country,” Kemp told host Dana Perino.
The federal government has provided an extra $300 per week to those accepting unemployment benefits after COVID-19 lockdowns decimated the American job market. But now, as states begin to reopen, businesses are facing a labor shortage, especially in the service industry. In some cases, the enhanced unemployment benefits pay more than minimum or lower wage jobs.
“We’ve got to get more people into the workforce, we want to encourage people to do that, we have a lot of resources for them,” Kemp continued. “We’ve got job training, we’ve got child care assistance for lower income families and we’ve got jobs available.”
Kemp noted that he is working with the state Department of Labor on the specifics, but that the enhanced benefits will likely be rolled back by the end of June.
He made it clear that policy was an attempt to return to normalcy.
“First of all, we’re not doing away with regular unemployment, we’re just taking away this federal subsidy that’s encouraging people not to get into the workforce,” Kemp said. “We’ve got a great economy in Georgia, our unemployment is well below the national average, and for people like President Biden and Vice President Harris, they should get out and talk to people on the ground. I’ve been all over the coast of Georgia, I’ve been in middle Georgia, it’s the same. I heard it yesterday in the metro Atlanta region. This is an issue I’m getting pounded on every day with our small business people and working Georgians. And it’s not fair to the people currently in the workforce, they’re getting killed right now working so many hours, they need some help.”
Georgia will become the thirteenth state to end the acceptance of the extra benefits, joining other southeastern states like Tennessee and South Carolina.
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