"Help wanted" signs plaster the doors of countless central New York Businesses, as they struggle to attract workers.
"We are just struggling to even find people," says Jason Allen-Leonard, of Wisk Baking Co., in downtown Utica. "Unemployment benefits being so large at this time it's sort of deterring people from coming back."
Federal unemployment insurance benefits of an additional $300 a week over and above New York State unemployment expire in early September. The max one can collect, with both, in New York State, add up to $804 a week.
Employers say that, for many workers, it makes more sense financially to stay home. It's not just minimum wage and service industry jobs that can't attract workers; DFAS, in Rome, is having a hard time hiring, federal pension and all.
Unemployment is intended to sustain people when jobs are scarce. Right now, jobs are plentiful. We asked Washington: How will you fix this?
"Obviously, we could amend the bill, we could be more targeted, we could come up with a way to find the people who truly are needy and cannot work are getting the benefit," says Congresswoman, Claudia Tenney. "Well, we are having the conversation, the problem is, we don't have any democrats who've shown an interest in changing the situation at this point, so if they're not willing to amend the bill, we can't change it in the house."
Democrat U.S. Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, says it's not just a central New York problem, and it's one she plans to give her attention, "I will look into this because obviously we don't want to be helping people not take jobs that are in their area; we want them to take jobs if they're available and they have the skills to do it."