Some Hope Expiration Of COVID Unemployment Benefits Will Ease Charlotte-Area Labor Shortages
Workers in North Carolina who have been unemployed during the pandemic are about to lose one of their lifelines. Federal unemployment benefits that were approved at the beginning of the pandemic will no longer be available next week. They include an extension on the number of weeks workers can receive unemployment and also an extra $300 on top of state unemployment benefits.
The development comes as some businesses in Charlotte and elsewhere are being hit by labor shortages. Tony Mecia with the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter says many short-staffed employers are hoping the reduction in benefits helps drive people back to the workforce.
"Employers have been saying for a long time that they really need workers," Mecia tells WFAE "Morning Edition" host Marshall Terry in this week's BizWorthy. "And and some of the thinking among employers has been that some workers are staying home because they're making almost as much in unemployment benefits as they would if they were working. This is what employers say."
But Mecia points out that unemployment numbers in the Charlotte region have already been dropping.
Listen to the full audio above as Mecia and Terry dive into the biggest business stories of the week. Speaking of employment, this installment of BizWorthy covers one of the biggest local back-to-work developments of the pandemic: Bank of America wants corporate employees who are vaccinated against COVID-19 back in uptown Charlotte offices after Labor Day.
"CEO Brian Moynihan has been very outspoken that he believes that a lot of good things happen when people in the office able to collaborate and communicate," Mecia says, but he notes that it's "kind of a mixed bag" when it comes to other major Charlotte employers bringing workers back — especially as the delta variant brings COVID back with a vengeance.
That's not all Mecia and Terry talk about this week. Also in BizWorthy:
- There's potential for COVID outbreaks at schools to send kids home again if cases keep climbing — and that might impact the families of local employers.
- Bank of America temporarily closed 12 bank branches in Mecklenburg County. Mecia checked with BofA and says the decisions were based on safety, largely because of the pandemic.
- The Carolina Panthers had male cheerleaders at their latest home game.
Listen to the full audio above.