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Shirkey issues statement on enhanced federal unemployment benefit

LANSING, Mich.Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, on Friday issued the following statement on the need to end the enhanced federal unemployment benefit to help businesses fill thousands of open jobs:

“Last year, Republicans supported a temporary increase in unemployment benefits to help the record number of Michiganders out of work through no fault of their own. Now that the governor’s erratic shutdowns are over, many Michiganders are back to work. But over 100,000 jobs remain unfilled — in part due to the ongoing enhanced federal benefit.

“It’s a cruel irony that many of the Michigan businesses that managed to survive the last 18 months are now struggling to stay afloat not because of COVID-19 or our governor’s heavy-handed response to the virus, but because they simply cannot hire enough workers. While almost every sector is hurting for talent, our hospitality industry is particularly challenged finding enough staff to fully reopen and recover.

“It’s past time to get back to work, as there is an abundance of jobs available. Meaningful work is a key factor in an individual’s mental and physical health. This supplemental increase needs to end on Sept. 6 as planned.”