Unemployment benefits ending leaves business owners optimistic for future

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Millions are still facing joblessness following the COVID-19 pandemic. But some major changes are coming to unemployment benefits, and local business owners said they’re optimistic.

Eddie Torrico, owner of the Golden Corral in Beckley said when those unemployment checks started rolling out, he along with countless other businesses lost more than a few employees.

“We hire about 100 to 120 people, and it’s been our biggest challenge. I’d say it was an even bigger challenge than COVID itself,” Torrico said.

He said sales decreased so severely they were forced to shut down for several months. Torrico said because of the amount of unemployment given, he isn’t able to hire anyone. But now with West Virginia cutting those additional unemployment benefits, he said he’s optimistic.

“Oh, I absolutely think it’s going to bring people in. I think probably starting tomorrow we’ll start seeing quite a few applicants come in. Something well overdue,” Torrico added.

Federal pandemic unemployment programs will end June 19th. According to Work Force West Virginia, these items will be removed from the current unemployment benefits.

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides for an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits for those who would not usually qualify, such as the self-employed, gig workers and part-time workers.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides for an extension of benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted.
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provides an additional $100 benefit to certain people with mixed earnings.

Torrico said cutting the extra income for those on unemployment will hopefully be the kick they need to get back to work.

“I think it’s been better than we anticipated. And now we’ll get some more applicants and probably some better quality applicants. I see a more trained staff, a fuller staff – to serve our customers better,” Torrico said.

For more information, visit http://www.workforcewv.org..

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