FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- At least 14 million Americans lost thier unemployment benefits while waiting for the latest COVID-19 relief package.
FOX 55 speaks with Northeast Indiana Works about what this means for you.
The employment rate in our region is 4.4 percent.
Director of Communications for Northeast Indiana Works Rick Farrant says this number is down from October, but still higher than where we were a year ago.
There are multiple reasons why: accelerating retirement, concerns of catching the virus, or not finding work in a preferred field.
Farrant says the virus doesn’t discriminate; folks in manufacturing, retail, food and accommodations are all hurting.
“We know this end to the unemployment benefits presents a challenge to a lot of people,” Farrant said.
Their hands are tied.
The pandemic unemployment programs are above both local and state levels.
“This is really up to the federal government to decide whether they want to extend it or whether they want to give it a new, and have it be retroactive,” he said.
Farrant says while the unemployment rate in Northeast Indiana is going down, every month we have fewer and fewer people in the labor force.
“I can say that for those who find themselves in this situation and are willing to work, there are plenty of jobs here and statewide,” he said.
Farrant’s biggest recommendation for those seeking work is to skill up.
He says the key to staying sharp and appealing to employers is continuing education and training.
There are 13,459 job openings in Northeast Indiana and 100,000 statewide as of Dec. 16.