Unemployment Benefits Outlook Remains Cloudy For Jobless - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Unemployment Benefits Outlook Remains Cloudy For Jobless

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WMDT 47 NEWS – Across the United States, more than two million people are unemployed.

After a close Senate vote last night, the country is one step closer to helping those who are jobless, but the official outlook is still cloudy. The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, where many are opposed to the legislation.

The measure, which is backed by the White House, would reportedly restore benefits that were cut off in late December and maintain them through the end of May. In Maryland, where the unemployment is at 5.7 percent, that includes about 25,000 residents without federal benefits. It's even more of concern in Wicomico County where unemployment is higher than both the state and national average at 8.2 percent.

"This area has some of the highest unemployment," says Joe Morse, President and CEO of Maryland Capital Enterprises Inc. in Salisbury, Maryland. "Anything that impacts the unemployment benefits is definitely going to have a devastating effect here."

However, jobless benefits may only be part of the concerns that come with economic recovery.

"My biggest concern is that there are jobs opening up but people aren't qualified for them, we've got a lot of jobs that are opening up and were finding that they have to import labor to actually take those jobs," says Morse. "Meanwhile there are people who are here who can't find employment."

"Coming out of the recession we have a little more of a prolonged recovery, I think a lot of that is related to the residential construction market," says David Ryan, Executive Director of Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development. "That's a market that's still very much a challenging market."

If the legislation does pass, that does not necessarily pave an easy path either. While both Maryland and Delaware's Department of Labor say they are ready, they will have their hands full trying to meet their residents' needs.

"Offices are going to be scrambling to restore those programs and meet the needs of the folks," says Tom Ellis, Director of Delaware's Division of Unemployment Insurance. "It's probably going to take three to five weeks to implement the program changes and to staff up to meet the needs of these 5,000 Delawareans. It's not easy , it will be a little bit of a challenge, but we've been there before."

Despite the uncertainty about the legislation, there is confidence that spring looks promising.

"It's moving very slowly in the right direction and I think better times are ahead," says Ryan.

In the meantime, Morse urges people who are unemployed to stay calm, and to not be particular when it comes to finding a job.

"You need to get what you can because whether you believe it or not, people tend to hire people who are already hired, they're not necessarily looking for the unemployed person," says Morse. "They're looking for the person who's already working, so get what you can find, until you can get what you want."

Morse also recommends to never disregard entrepreneurship as an option, either.

"Once you explore what your skills are, you'll find a lot of skills that are marketable, that you may not have even thought about and may be doing free as a hobby."

For more information on the services that Maryland Capital Enterprises Inc. provides, visit their website.

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