The Bulletin Board

Sununu to end $300 weekly federal unemployment payments

By: - May 13, 2021 5:41 pm
stack of 100 dollar bills

The Department of Military Affairs and Veterans Services is seeking money for a woodchuck “control program.” (Getty Images)

Following the lead of at least 14 other Republican-led states, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday he will end the additional $300 weekly federal unemployment payments before the program expires in September. 

Sununu cited complaints from employers who’ve said they can’t fill positions because unemployment benefits are too high. He had already announced that as of May 23, people filing for state unemployment will have to prove they are looking for work.

Sununu said he expects eliminating the extra unemployment could bring 5,000 to 10,000 people back to the workforce. “Every individual matters, because we are so desperate for workforce,” he said. “Our economy is just so strong, everyone needs workforce right now.”

Of the $1.82 billion the state has paid in unemployment over the pandemic, only $324 million has been state money. The rest has been federal, most of it the weekly increases, which were $600 until July.

Sununu did not say when the federal benefit would end. The other states ending the payments have said they plan to do so between June and July. 

The state Department of Employment Security tried to boost the workforce with job fairs, with little success. During the eight job fairs held in 2021, 305 employees tried to fill 16,500 jobs. Just over 600 job seekers attended. 

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.