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COVID-19 unemployment benefits to be cut tomorrow



COVID-19 unemployment benefits will be cut in half across Alabama tomorrow.

The state is terminating the extra $300 a week supplied by the Federal Government. That unemployment benefit program from Washington will continue nationally until early September. Some businesses in Alabama have faced labor shortages in recent months and some critics blame jobless benefits .

Dev Wakeley is a policy analyst with Arise Alabama. He doesn’t think this policy will help businesses find employees.

“It costs people too much to work a $7.45 an hour job. It can be more expensive to go to a four hour shift for minimum wage than it costs you in, say, childcare or transportation to get to work in the first place," he said. "People simply cannot afford to work these minimum wage jobs because the minimum wage doesn’t pay enough.”

Alabama has a 3.6% unemployment rate based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April estimates. Wakeley also said pro-business policies hurt the state. 

“There’s this mistaken idea that business friendly means worker unfriendly when we know that’s not the case," he said. "If you have a stable workforce that’s able to afford their basic necessities, they’re able to participate better and more fully in the economy.”

Libby Foster is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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