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Federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits ending in Arkansas: Employee training centers see spike

From manufacturing, construction, janitorial, restaurants and clerical jobs, hundreds of now hiring signs are now displayed across the state.

ARKANSAS, USA — The $300 weekly federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits are coming to an end this Saturday (June 26) in Arkansas.

The benefits are ending because Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says people are hiring, but no one is applying because of the benefits that are currently in place.

“The last few months have been horrible,” said Sara Lusher, owner of Emelia’s On Dickson in Fayetteville, when describing working with little to no help since the COVID-19 pandemic began. “I’ve been serving tables by myself for 15 months.”

She’s had the same "Now Hiring" sign outside her door and hasn’t had luck finding any help until recently.

“I finally got two people I really like,” said Lusher speaking on her two new hires.

She is not the only one dealing with this problem of looking for help.  “We are definitely seeing an increase of employers this time. They are needing employees across the state,” said Gina Wells, North Arkansas Careers Services Manager for Goodwill Industries.

Hundreds of now hiring signs are now displayed across the state from manufacturing, construction, janitorial, restaurants, and clerical jobs.

“It’s all industries,” Wells said.

Since Governor Hutchinson doesn't endorse the extra benefits, Goodwill Industries say they’ve seen a spike in employees wanting jobs. In addition, Wells says, “We are also seeing an influx in the client’s come back to our career services now that we are now open.”

Goodwill Industries is helping place employers with employees. Lusher says she’s happy to have employees, doesn’t want to jump the gun on her happiness.

“I’m kind of holding off just a little bit. Because I want to see what it’s like in July and August.”

Arkansas is not alone in ending benefits. We are among 25 other states that are also planning to end the unemployment benefits put in place because of the pandemic.

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