SB Wednesday: Introducing the Jobs Jumpstart Program
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - WVVA is helping to answer your questions about small business and personal finance. Joining us today is the Executive Director of the Development Authority of Mercer County, John O’Neal. John, Thank you for joining us.
John: My pleasure.
WVVA: John, several unemployment reports have been released recently. What can you tell us about these reports, and what they might mean for our region?
John: Good evening Mel. Federal employment numbers released this week are not good. A national private sector survey of employment conducted by payroll firm ADP states that jobs decreased nationwide by over 300,000 in January, while expectations were that there would be an increase of about 200,000. The Biden Administration blames COVID for the job losses, and says that the numbers will bounce back in the months to come.
WVVA: Those national numbers seem bad, but what about job numbers in West Virginia?
John: Fortunately, West Virginia, like many of the states that have done away with COVID restrictions, is outperforming the national economy in many ways. The most recent unemployment stats released by Workforce West Virginia show that the unemployment rate in West Virginia has declined to 3.7%, an historic low. Also, the workforce participation rate in West Virginia continues to improve. Recent announcements from the Governor’s Office regarding hundreds of new jobs that are coming to the state have state leaders scrambling to try to get the workers needed to fill the available jobs.
WVVA: John, what are some of the steps being taken by state leaders to get people back into the workforce?
John: There are several. The West Virginia Senate is considering bills that that would reduce the length of unemployment benefits, and require stronger efforts to seek employment. We will keep an eye on Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 3 as the legislative session continues.
Also, Governor Justice has recently announced the creation of the Jobs Jumpstart Program, which allows for a $1500 cash bonus to certain eligible persons that return to work between January and August of this year. Among those eligible for the Jobs Jumpstart Program bonus would be anyone currently receiving unemployment benefits, SNAP benefits, or TANF benefits.
Our state leaders are focused on getting the remaining few unemployed West Virginians back to work. We shall see if this combination of incentives and restrictions does the trick.
Viewers may get more information, and apply for the Jobs Jumpstart Program at www.workforcewv.org .
WVVA: Thanks John
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