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Economist: Stopping extra $300 jobless benefits will partially solve S.C. worker shortage

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 7:18 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Over 100,000 people are still unemployed across South Carolina as the extra $300 a week from the federal government is about to disappear.

The South Carolina Department of Workforce and Employment said there are currently over 88,000 openings statewide. Many are in leisure and hospitality positions.

Research economist at the University of South Carolina, Joseph VonNessen, said ending the extra $300 a week in pandemic unemployment benefits should help fill some of those positions, but not all.

“If you’re an employer in the service sector you are in a sense competing with those unemployment benefits,” he said. “There are other factors aside from the federal supplement, that is influencing this labor shortage, so while this will help on the margin, particularly in the service sector, we continue to expect there will be labor shortages for the rest of the summer.”

He added the pandemic has changed the market, causing many older workers to leave the workforce in its entirety, and has made it hard for many families to find consistent child care.

But for businesses along Ocean Boulevard like Dirty Don’s Oyster Bar and Grill, they said they just can’t handle a summer this busy without being fully staffed up.

“Just trying to manage the sheer volume with a short staff is pretty difficult. Especially serving 10,000 guests a day and having three people do it all day,” General Manager Dalton Novia said.

The benefits disapper the claim week ending June 26 in South Carolina. In states not opting out, they will stop at the end of the summer.

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