What the stoppage of federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits means for Siouxland businesses

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds made the announcement earlier today that pandemic-related unemployment benefits will come to an end starting June 13.

At one point during the pandemic, Iowa unemployment checks came with an extra $600 per week. Then, a few months ago, that extra money was cut in half. Soon, it will be gone altogether.

With the announcement that pandemic-related unemployment benefits are coming to an end, one Siouxland business owner is hopeful that more Iowans will re-enter the work force.

“I get it that people are split on it. If you’re an owner of a business, you’re probably more excited about it because its been pretty difficult to staff, so everywhere we go in our industry you see there’s restaurants in town that have closed because of staffing, so I think it’s good, gives people an incentive to get back to work and get out there. There’s plenty of jobs out there, plenty open market,” Dave Ferris, owner of Sneaky’s Chicken said.

Siouxlanders are split on Gov. Reynolds’ decision to end the benefits.

“There’s people out there that worked their butts off. A little extra relief right now is not gonna hurt them, you know, they worked hard for their money and pay taxes. You know, quit being negative is my thoughts,” Steven Ristau said.

“I think that there’s gonna be other opportunities for other people to sweep in and help those people. Just relying on the relief could be problematic, but I think that there will be other opportunities for other people to help them and get where they need to be,” Marcos Reyes Ferdig said.

For local businesses, getting back to normal has been difficult.

“It’s been really difficult. We have a great staff. We normally carry about 21 to 24 people on staff and right now, we’re at about 19. We could use a couple of really good people but it just, you know you put it out there. I think it’ll be good to encourage people to get back out,” Ferris said.

Ferris implied it’s time to take the next step.

“I think there’s been a whole lot of things happen in the country production wise, you’re seeing inventories running short and a lot of that is by material use, but there’s a lot of staffing issues. I think once we get them filled, we can see a lot of things moving forward and the time is right. So time to get moving,” Ferris said.

The additional unemployment benefit ends June 13. Beyond that, Iowa unemployment benefits will continue as they were before the pandemic. The full list of programs scheduled to end federal pandemic-related benefits are below:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

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