The recent spike in coronavirus cases indicates that the ongoing pandemic is far from over, but the unemployment stipends being granted to individuals whose employment status was affected by it will soon be.

Tangipahoa Parish’s economy is still in the process of recovering from the forced closures to many businesses during the state’s stay at home order. While many employees have been able to return to work, others continue to wait in limbo as their recent employers work to find a way to hire them back.

The weekly $600 additional unemployment stipend many of these individuals have come to rely on to cover rent, mortgages and car payments while they wait is set to expire on July 31.

Jan Moller, executive director of the Louisiana Budget Project, believes a lot of Louisiana families will be affected by this expiration of assistance as these programs have helped matters from getting worse.

“... My worry is that people see phase II re-opening, people see the jobs’ report is a little bit better and people start seeing everything’s going to be fine,” Moller said. “Congress needs to help support workers and families until this crisis is over, and we know this crisis is nowhere close to being over.”

Based on the current unemployment rate, a lot of people still do not have jobs as a result of the virus and no fault of their own. Suddenly having to pay rent and clothe children without substantial savings, which many families do not have, is not realistic in today’s economy, he said.

According to Louisiana Workforce Commission, the state’s initial unemployment insurance claims for last week dropped from 23,122 to 19,524, which is still much greater than 2,238 initial claims filed the previous year during the same time period. Last week’s continued claims decreased from 306,358 to 300,389 but remain above the prior year’s 16,630 continued claims during the same time period.

Not all businesses are experiencing an internal hiring freeze. Many local employers are still looking to hire individuals needing a job.

“Our businesses are still looking for people,” Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller said.

Miller announced this month that 1,246 jobs were open and being advertised to the parish’s citizens. According to Geaux Jobs, the average salaries of these jobs was about $38,000 per year.

Miller said citizens have opportunities to start careers, whether entry-level jobs or full-blown professional ones.

Miller encouraged any citizen looking for a job to contact or visit Tangipahoa Parish’s Workforce Geaux Jobs Centers, which are located at 403 Market St. in Hammond and 108 W. Mulberry St. in Amite.

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