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Hoosiers still looking for work worried as pandemic unemployment benefits end

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Posted at 10:28 PM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 22:28:36-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal pandemic unemployment benefits have ended impacting thousands of Hoosiers. Some families tell WRTV the pandemic is still impacting their job search efforts and ability to work.

“We have just been through the wringer with the pandemic last year and now this year,” explained Mindy Harrington, a Marion County resident.

Harrington said she has had steady employment throughout the pandemic, but her husband hasn’t been as lucky.

“He's been out of work the whole time. He worked at Circle Centre Mall and he got shut down and lost his job March 18 of last year,” she said.

She said the federal unemployment benefits have been a huge help for their family. They’ve had their challenges with the system, but explained the benefits they have received helped make ends meet.

“We have a six-year-old son and trying to take care of things on just one income is not ideal.”

Her husband has been looking for a job, but that has come with its challenges, as well. Many were out of the county and they don’t have reliable transportation.

He finally received an offer, but now a positive COVID-19 test is getting in the way.

“It really hindered us a lot and now, especially that we have COVID-19 and can’t work for 14 days," Harrington said. "He was supposed to start a job yesterday cleaning an Amazon warehouse. Now he's on hold because of having COVID-19."

She is hoping they hold the job for him so he can start after they finish quarantining.

The couple said they’re frustrated that a pandemic-related assistance program is now ending.

“This pandemic is obviously far from over. In fact, I think it is hitting Indiana harder,” Harrington added.

On top of that, some economists are calling the most recent job report “disappointing.”

“This jobs report for August reflected a pretty steep slowdown from the previous month. This is the worst jobs report of 2021. We thought we would be creating two or three times the number of jobs this month," Dr. Michael Hicks, a professor of economics at Ball State University said.

The report shows thousands of jobs were lost in the restaurant, hotel and retail trade industries.

“Until COVID-19 is in hand, until the risk of the disease affecting the lives and liveliness of people is better, I don’t think we are going to get anywhere near the full recovery we thought we were going to have even six weeks or ten weeks ago,” Hicks said.

While many businesses across the state said they're struggling to hire employees, some people still worry about the impact the end of these unemployment benefits will have on Hoosier families.

“We see all these people that are suffering and to not be able to do anything for them, it really breaks my heart,” Harrington said.

For more information about how you can find a job, you visit WRTV's Hiring Hoosiers page.

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