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State hopes ending $300 federal unemployment checks with spur employees' return to work

'It's the best time in more than a year to find a great job,' Tom Veenstra says
Posted at 4:45 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 18:27:21-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The state of Florida is pushing people to get back to work by all means necessary.

The state announced Monday starting June 26 they are opting out of the federal benefits for unemployed workers through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

This means no more $300 bonus checks per week.

Some people are welcoming this change, but others are seriously worried about making ends meet.

CareerSource Palm Beach County expects to become very busy come June 1 when the state's unemployment waiver for work search expires. That's on top of the extra $300 from the federal government ending in Florida.

The loss is a huge concern for many people who are trying to find work in their field of expertise.

Norman Evans is unemployed but optimistic and trying to get ahead of the potential rush of applicants.

Norman Evans, unemployed worker
Unemployed worker Norman Evans talks about his search for a new job.

"It's scary not to have the extra $300, but it's probably necessary because if everyone keeps getting it, I don't think anyone is going to look for work," Evans said.

He admits it wasn't until he learned those receiving unemployment will be required to submit their job searches to receive benefits that he realized he better start applying.

"As of June 1, everyone is going to have to be looking for work, so I'm a week ahead. I hope that gives me an advantage," Evans said.

Even though Palm Beach County's unemployment rate is lower than the state and national average, state and unemployment benefits have made it appealing for many to continue to receive benefits rather than work.

Tom Veenstra, CareerSource Palm Beach County
Job expert Tom Veenstra at CareerSource Palm Beach County says it is a great time to find work in Florida.

"This has forced a lot of employers to do hiring bonuses, benefits, payments for job interviews even," said Tom Veenstra at CareerSource Palm Beach County.

Veenstra said in the last month 5,000 more people are working in Palm Beach County.

Now that the clock is running out on federal benefits next month, he expects employers will have more luck finding workers.

"Right now, it's the best time in more than a year to find a great job," Veenstra said.

Evans said his past experience is in construction but after an injury, he is hoping to get into retail. He is worried about finding work…and now removing the bonus $300 a week puts pressure on him to find the right job.

"Without that, $275 [from state unemployment benefits] is not very much to live on," Evans said.