* Hannah Meisel at NPR Illinois…
Unemployed Illinoisans will keep receiving an extra $300 in pandemic-enhanced weekly benefits, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday, even as Republican-led states around the nation move to end those benefits early, claiming they’re disincentivizing working-age people from getting jobs.
“Our job here is to make sure we’re creating jobs and helping people to rebuild the lives they had before the pandemic, and so we’re not going to pull the rug out from under people,” Pritzker told reporters at an unrelated event Wednesday.
The governor’s comments came a few hours before one of the state’s leading business groups representing employers sent Pritzker a letter asking for an early end to the boosted unemployment benefits, which are set to expire Sept. 6.
In his letter, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO Mark Denzler cited data from the state’s Department of Employment Security showing approximately 358,800 fewer Illinoisans in the state’s workforce in March versus March 2020, when the pandemic began. Denzler attributes this labor shortage to the extra $300 in weekly COVID unemployment benefits, which means an individual with no dependents in Illinois can receive the equivalent of more than $19 an hour.
Hannah obviously put a lot of work into this piece, so go take a look at the whole thing.