BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – Federal pandemic unemployment payments in Louisiana will stop on July 31st.
During the legislative session, Governor John Bel Edwards (D) made a deal with state Republican lawmakers and business organizations to cut off those payments, in exchange for a slight increase of $28 in weekly unemployment payments. Starting in January, the maximum amount will be $275 per week.
“Very concerned about getting that $28 a week minimum benefit going forward that will start in January,” said Edwards. “For a long time now, Louisiana has had the smallest weekly benefit in the country. We need to do better than that. This is a way of advancing that goal. Everything is a trade off. Reasonable people can disagree on where you draw the line.”
Governor Edwards had said he was considering shutting down the $300 per week supplemental pandemic unemployment benefits in August, one month before the federal relief was set to run out. He calls the decision a good compromise.
“It’s trying to strike a reasonable balance between receiving the funds and distribution of the benefits, and making sure we have employees at places of business,” said Edwards.
First time unemployment claims went down for the week ending June 5th, at approximately 5,500. When compared to the same week last year, there were nearly 22,000 new claims, during the pandemic.
However, continued claims increased to about 50,000, compared to more than 300,000 at the same time last year.
There are currently more than 15,000 jobs available on the state’s website, louisianaworks.net/hire. It’s the same site that people use for unemployment benefits. Currently, there is a great need for nurses and workers in hospitality, retail, and food services.