CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Across the nation, we’re seeing many states with Republican governors and legislatures stopping the COVID-19 bonuses early and West Virginia is no exception.
Effective at 12 a.m, Saturday, June 19, West Virginia will stop participating in all federally funded unemployment compensation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s a week earlier than the federal government announced it was ending the program, which gives unemployed workers an additional $300 dollars per week.
“Hopefully, they’ll be looking for jobs. We hope that they’re going to transition from unemployment to work search. And at Workforce, we’re here to help folks who are looking for jobs,” said Scott Adkins, Commissioner WV Workforce.
While the state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.5%, 43,000 people are still unemployed.
At the same time employers say they can’t find enough people to fill their jobs.
West Virginia residents claim the increase in technology has made it very challenging to apply for jobs.
Some of the unemployed people tell us they want to work, but it’s hard to apply for jobs.
“You’re probably not going to get a job right now unless someone is actually taking paper applications, which even at your local McDonald’s you’re not going to find that. Everything’s done online or done through a text message now,” said Wilbert Sparrow, WV Resident.
“I’ve taken my break out here for more than a year. I’ve talked to hundreds of people, and I have not talked to a single one that did not want to go back to work, not a single one,” said Lon Dittebrand, WV Workforce Worker.
As for those still receiving unemployment checks…
“You can tell by just talking with people and seeing it on their faces, it’s hurt them a lot, they want to feel useful,” said Lon Dittebrand, WV Workforce Worker.
Still, the state is hoping elimination of the extra money will motivate people to look a little harder for work.
“Pre-pandemic we were like 4.5% or 4.6% unemployment. We’re close to that, we’re a percentage point away, and so really under Governor Justice’s leadership, we fair pretty well. And so I think we can take that to a new level” said Scott Adkins, Commissioner WV Workforce.
Any weeks filed before June 19th that are eligible under federal program requirements will continue to be processed.