As of July, approximately 440,000 Louisianans have voluntarily left their jobs this year, the highest total for the first seven months of a year since 2000. But experts say mobility signals a healthy economy, albeit a challenging one for employers.
Staff shortages and a rush to distribute funds generated confusion and mistakes, resulting in unemployment benefit overpayments to thousands of Alabamians. Now, the state wants its money back.
The state’s Wage Theft Task Force has helped 265 workers to recoup pay over the last two-and-a-half years during the pandemic and has brought charges against a dozen businesses for wage fraud.
The state’s candidates for governor are addressing jobs, transportation, education and small businesses, but some voters feel they avoid talking about the most-pressing issues, like inflation or the cost of living.
While new leadership and a quick economic rebound have allowed the state’s Employment Department to better address new claims and phone calls, the agency still has outstanding issues to be resolved.
While the unemployment rates are close to pre-pandemic levels, employers are still struggling to fill positions. Statewide, businesses reported about 30,000 fewer workers than in February 2020.
The state’s Employment Development Department says that it was flooded with 47,000 suspicious claims in early May, which would have amounted to as much as $560 million. There has not yet been word who is behind the fraudulent claims.
The state saw a civilian labor force gain of 14,000 and an employment increase of 19,000 last month. April was the 12th consecutive month of job growth and 10th consecutive month of unemployment decline for the state.
Earlier this year, the IRS walked back its selfie requirement for identity verification after a swell of privacy concerns; but several states continue to use ID.me to collect portraits, which could be stored for years.
Last month, the national jobless rate fell to the lowest it has been since the 1960s, but the intense labor demand could spark even faster wage growth. Currently, inflation is at its highest in four decades.
Despite declining COVID numbers, the state’s unemployment numbers remain well above the national average. Businesses are still cautious about hiring and thousands of workers are quitting their jobs.
The coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented number of jobless aid applications, creating a deep backlog which the state says is impossible to quickly clear; a group of residents has filed a lawsuit in complaint of the delays.
In January, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 5.9 percent, nearly two percentage points higher than the national average. However, nonagricultural employment in the state grew by about 6 percent compared to the year prior.
Federal aid won’t be enough to help ailing rural communities and urban neighborhoods. It's time for state policymakers to target them with cost-effective job creation policies.
The state Senate approved two bills that would cut unemployment insurance benefits and lower employer contributions to pre-pandemic levels. If the House accepts the bills, they will head to Gov. Beshear’s desk for signature.
We’re too focused on job creation and too little on skilling. Mayors and county executives need to take on a new role in workforce development, coordinating regional efforts built around better use of data.