West Michigan business owners expect end to unemployment benefit get people return to work

West Michigan business owners expect end to unemployment benefit get people return to work

According the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, more than 442,000 Michiganders received an additional $300 per week of federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Those benefits expired on Saturday.

West Michigan business owners are hoping more people will enter the workforce as federal pandemic unemployment benefits expire. Benefits Expire: 440,000 Michiganders on federal unemployment benefits to lose $300 per week boost. According the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, more than 442,000 Michiganders received an additional $300 per week boost.

“I would have thought these people that really do want to work would’ve applied earlier ahead of time so they’d be right at the front of the line,” said AJ Distefano, co-owner of Maria’s Taste of Italy. “We haven’t seen that. We get one or two here and there. I don’t know what to think at this point.”

Distefano’s restaurant is in South Haven. Maria’s Taste of Italy is one of many restaurants struggling with staffing.

Distefano said because of several unfilled server positions the restaurant is only doing takeout orders on Mondays and Wednesdays. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

Even though 7.5 million Americans lost all their unemployment benefits, the restaurant has not seen an uptick in job applicants.

“We got signs. We get on Facebook. Word of mouth. I mean, every time my wife and I go to the stores or whatever, we see somebody walking by, ‘hey, you got a kid that wants a job?’ We try whatever we can,” Distefano said.

Three federal benefit programs ended over Labor Day weekend: the $300 weekly bonus for those already collecting state unemployment, payments for freelancers and the self-employed, and an extension of payments for those who ran out of state benefits.

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