Bountiful Benefits Blamed for Blocking City Unemployment Rate From Dropping to Pre-Pandemic Levels

first_img More Cool Stuff Business News 14 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Make a comment CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday (Image by Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock)California employers have added 119,600 positions as of March, state unemployment officials recently reported, leaving unfilled more than half of the 2.7 million jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.In Pasadena, the unemployment rate in March increased to 9%, up two-tenths of a percent from February, but still down from 10.4% in January and 9.8% in December, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a far cry from the best of pre-pandemic times, with local unemployment at 4.7% at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 before soaring to 15.1% the following July.Today, some are questioning why, while military recruitments are showing an increase and a clear need for workers exists, many civilian jobs remain unfilled, now that readily available anti-COVID-19 vaccines are being administered at breakneck speed (even to young teens), the number of coronavirus-related deaths has plummeted, restrictions on gathering with others have been eased or lifted, and restaurants and other retail businesses have opened, though still at limited capacities .Some have said that state unemployment benefits, combined with other federal and state subsidies, are just too much to forgo in exchange for an old job that paid less money. Add to that the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment, which by itself is equivalent to having a full-time job that pays $15 an hour.And that, said Pasadena businessman Ishmael Trone, “has become a problem.”“It’s a huge predicament,” said Trone, a former Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Board Chair and a certified licensed tax preparer and notary public.“It’s one that we didn’t think of. Some businesses felt it during the pandemic, but like anybody else, we thought it was going to end. Open the economy up. Unemployment goes back to normalcy. We’re done. No. They keep putting more money out there,” Trone said.In Pasadena, where many businesses accepted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, the question of fairness takes on added importance. The loans will be completely forgiven if businesses spend 75% of the money on payroll within eight weeks of funding, as well as hire enough workers to reach pre-COVID-19 employment levels, according to the program’s guidelines. But, if many of these employees were rehired, they would be making far less money than if they stayed on the state’s payroll.Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Paul Little said he wasn’t familiar enough with the unemployment data to comment on whether or not people are cheating the system, but did say some employees who were laid off from their jobs have found other work.Further, he said Home Depot, which recently opened a new outlet in Pasadena, recently started hiring people, “And you know grocery stores hired a lot during the pandemic because they needed people,” Little said.“One of the challenges is that the grocery stores hired a lot of people from other businesses. So, as a result, restaurants, for example, are having hard time finding people because the people with customer service skills got hired by grocery stores, wages with benefits and insurance. So they’re not going to leave that,” Little said.What many people may not not know is things could be much worse in the world of wage-subsidies.According to a recent national survey conducted by the job-posting site Joblist, and reported on by Time magazine, as many as 59% of unemployed people never apply for unemployment benefits. The survey found that 9% were deterred by the process, which they found too difficult or complicated. The majority (54%) of respondents who were cited didn’t believe they were eligible.The truth is, “Unemployment insurance benefits are severely underutilized,” the study concluded.“Millions more people would have filed for benefits if the process were easier,” the study found.While local businesses seem to be having trouble attracting new and former workers, military officials are reporting a surge in new recruits.“As for our recruiting aspects, once the pandemic hit, our recruiting rates did go down, but everything started coming back up and, you know, as we started working on the virtual side, providing virtual presentations and just being able to go out into the community, we have been increasing within our hiring rates, but we’d like to see more individuals join and become part of our team,” said Army Captain Korina Rodriguez, Company Commander of the San Gabriel Valley Recruiting Company.“That’s what we’re looking for,” Rodriguez said.Local businesses, particularly restaurants, have not been so fortunate.“Some restaurants currently seeking employees are reporting that they are unable to fill the positions, and some have reported that some prospective employees would return or accept a position only if they are paid in cash in order to continue receiving unemployment insurance, but restaurants have refused, so they continue to struggle to hire,” said Brian Wallace, executive director of Pasadena’s Playhouse Village.“Jobs in retail and non-food service are also available and tend to be filled more easily. Stronger, larger retailers also report near-full recovery in terms of sales and employees. Again, food service jobs are plentiful but difficult to fill,” Wallace said.“If you’re making two or three times more staying home than you would at working, it’s hard to convince someone to come to work, isn’t it? And they’re getting more savvy,” Trone said. “This is what I saw all tax season. They became day traders in the stock market. They took that money. I could not believe it this tax season. ‘You freaking did day trading all day every day while sitting at home doing nothing?’” Trone said, recounting what conversations he had with some customers of his tax business. “‘I was getting the extra money,’” they’d say, “‘So I started trading in the stock market because it’s hot. It’s on fire right now.’ I went, this is unbelievable.”Said Little, “I don’t know why but there’s a hiring surge in February and it levels off and drops in March. And I think some of that is that openings and reopenings aren’t a steady increase — it’s a fits and starts kind of thing. And so it’s really difficult to predict — and the predictions have been all over the map.”To Trone, however, the problem with getting people back to work is obvious.“Everybody’s trying to hire right now,” Trone said. “If you drive around town, you see signs that say ‘I’m looking for workers, hiring now.’ But no one’s going after those because they are on unemployment. They keep putting unemployment out there like it’s never going to end, so they can’t find workers,” Trone said.center_img Community News HerbeautyA Mental Health Chatbot Which Helps People With DepressionHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyInstall These Measures To Keep Your Household Safe From Covid19HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyThese Are 15 Great Style Tips From Asian WomenHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty5 Things To Avoid If You Want To Have Whiter TeethHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty9 Of The Best Family Friendly Dog BreedsHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWhat Is It That Actually Makes French Women So Admirable?HerbeautyHerbeauty Community News Subscribe faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Donald CommunityPCC- COMMUNITYVirtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPasadena Public WorksPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Top of the News Community News Bountiful Benefits Blamed for Blocking City Unemployment Rate From Dropping to Pre-Pandemic Levels By David Cross and Kevin Uhrich Published on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 | 5:57 pm Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadenalast_img

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