Runestad issues statement calling for end of temporarily enhanced federal unemployment benefit

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, on Wednesday issued the following statement in support of ending the enhanced federal unemployment benefit on Sept. 6 in order to help businesses fill thousands of open jobs and Michigan residents get back to work:

“Last year, I joined with other Republicans in support of a temporary increase in unemployment benefits to help the record number of Michigan workers who suddenly found themselves without jobs in the wake of the governor’s over-reaching and often-changing unilateral shutdowns. At the same time, many Michigan residents continued to work through the pandemic, without added incentives, to keep vital services open and running.

“Now that the governor’s shutdowns are behind us, many Michiganders are getting back to work. Unfortunately, however, many others are not. More than 100,000 jobs remain unfilled across Michigan. Businesses that have managed to survive the past year and a half are now struggling to keep their doors open because they cannot hire enough workers. I’ve also heard of similar struggles from those who manage vital utilities and other essential service areas.

“These extra federal funds are now disincentivizing people from returning to work; that was never the plan. It’s time for Michigan to get back to work. This temporary measure should expire on Sept. 6 as planned.”