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¡¡¡¡Jackson, Mrs. (AP) ¡ª Katrina Forks says she has tried everything she could think of to find a job since she lost her job in September due to a coronavirus pandemic.

¡¡¡¡A 39-year-old mother living in Hattiesberg, who was entering data at a law firm, was forced to work from home due to health problems.

¡¡¡¡She said she had three interviews a week and was buying WiFi and a computer to become a more powerful job seeker. However, she couldn¡¯t find a job that could accommodate her weekly doctor consultation.

¡¡¡¡¡°Every time I submitted my application and received a call, I seemed to hit a brick wall,¡± she said.

¡¡¡¡Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on May 10 that Mississippi will provide a $ 300 weekly federal subsidy for those who have lost their jobs in a pandemic of the new coronavirus, as well as other extended assistance to the unemployed. Announced to opt out of the program.

¡¡¡¡At least 24 Republican-led states in the United States have decided to terminate federal unemployment benefits early, months before they expire in September 2021. That means millions of people will lose support. Mississippi people will lose their benefits earlier this month. Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country and has the lowest paid jobs.

¡¡¡¡People said the governor¡¯s decision meant that her current $ 491 weekly check would be zero.

¡¡¡¡¡°Honestly, I¡¯m scared,¡± Forks said. ¡°I can¡¯t live on that alone¡±

¡¡¡¡According to the Mississippi Employment Security Agency, about 90,000 people received $ 300 unemployment benefits in early May for reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic.

¡¡¡¡Republican Reeves said he had decided to stop receiving federal subsidies after consulting with business owners and employees.

¡¡¡¡According to Arma Cook, director of reemployment support at the Mississippi Employment Department, companies¡¯ capacity limits and other coronavirus regulations have been largely lifted, but they will not be able to find employees and will be fully restored. Security that has not been reached.

¡¡¡¡¡°The employer contacted us for additional help because of the job, but no one came to the job interview,¡± Cook said. ¡°They have no workers to provide the services they provide.¡±

¡¡¡¡For the past few weeks, the agency has been using social media to call on companies to report applicants who refused a job offer while gathering unemployed people. The state has set up an online portal where employers can submit applicants for investigation.

¡¡¡¡Reports have skyrocketed since the state urged employers to create it, Cook said.

¡¡¡¡Charita McCarrol is the Human Resources Manager for Great Southern Industries, a Jackson packaging company. She said she had used the state portal to create reports and saw many people exploiting the system.

¡¡¡¡¡°You can¡¯t get people to come to work,¡± McCarroll said. ¡°In the world of recruitment agencies, this was just a nightmare.¡±

¡¡¡¡McCarrol¡¯s company holds approximately 69 of the 89 positions. Not all machines may be able to run because there are not enough employees or the shift needs to be shut down. Supervisors drive machines and forklifts because they can¡¯t find the people to play that role.

¡¡¡¡At Flowood¡¯s Half Shell Oyster House seafood restaurant, manager Jalen Loggins said he had a similar experience. The restaurant is looking for all positions.

¡¡¡¡¡°We had them come to the orientation, we had a two and a half hour orientation, and then we gathered people who would never come again,¡± he said.

¡¡¡¡Like many companies, Half Shell launched an incentive program, offering a $ 300 sign-on bonus, and three months later, another $ 300.

¡¡¡¡Many places take a creative approach to attracting employees.

¡¡¡¡MGM Resorts International and Biloxi¡¯s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino held a job fair featuring ice sculptures and live dancers. The shrimp basket restaurant chain is breaking up new cars. Jeff Goode, owner of the Jackson restaurant, held a hiring carnival with games, balloons and ice cream.

¡¡¡¡Employers say workers are demanding more than they were before the pandemic.

¡¡¡¡According to Matt Roberts, general manager of Shaggy¡¯s Biloxi Beach, the restaurant guarantees $ 15 an hour per full-time position and has full staff since adding medical, visual and dental benefits. The Biloxi restaurant is one of Shaggy¡¯s five locations and employs approximately 90 people.

¡¡¡¡¡°There are many coastal restaurants that have to close on certain days of the week because there aren¡¯t enough employees who want to earn $ 7.25 an hour to cook in the kitchen,¡± Roberts said.

¡¡¡¡He said he wanted employees to know that he was valued

¡¡¡¡¡°Can you sympathize a little?¡± Roberts said. ¡°We want our employees to be able to earn a living wage that allows them to take care of their families as well as themselves.¡±

¡¡¡¡Forks said he had lost hope of finding a job by the June 12 deadline. Jobs such as buying clothes for his 11-year-old son are causing stress.

¡¡¡¡¡°I literally have to go to church and ask for help,¡± she said. ¡°I¡¯m embarrassed. I¡¯ve worked all the time, but now I have to ask people for help. I Is not the person who does such a thing. ¡°

¡¡¡¡People said there was a misconception that people who were still unemployed due to the pandemic were lazy and did not want to work. She said that wasn¡¯t the case for her.

¡¡¡¡¡°I¡¯m now stuck between a rock and a hard place,¡± Forks said. ¡°I feel like there¡¯s no way out of it.¡±


¡¡¡¡Leah Willingham is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that assigns journalists to local media outlets to report on unreported issues.