Southern Illinois staffing agencies encourage people to get back to work ahead of $600 benefit ending

Illinois workers reluctant to swap unemployment checks for paychecks
Updated: Jul. 21, 2020 at 6:46 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - With that additional $600 unemployment slated to end soon, the number of people out of work in Illinois has remained stagnant since April.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the state of Illinois is the worst in the Midwest and among all neighboring states in swapping unemployment checks for paychecks.

However, two Southern Illinois professional staffing agencies point out there are plenty of jobs available.

Owner Greg Cottom said there are jobs, just not many people filling them.

“Right now I think the incentive is to not work at the moment,” he said.”There’s actually more openings than people to work at the moment.”

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the number of idled workers needing unemployment assistance has dropped just 2.6 percent since mid-April. While other Midwestern states see double-digit improvements.

With the added $600 unemployment benefit slated to end this week, Cottom believed more people will get back to work.

“We’ve seen a small uptick in people applying trying to get off the side line and back to work and I think the COVID numbers still have people apprehensive about returning to work,” Cottom said.

Right up Route 13 in Marion, HireLevel, Inc. employment agency regional manager Dana Dooley said her agency has many openings as well.

“It’s been slow as far as new candidate go but we actually have more jobs right now than we did in February when really nobody was talking about COVID,” Dooley said.

According to HireLevel, in 2019 the agency had 19 people on unemployment, in 2020 they have 126 on unemployment in Illinois.

Dooley said she believes things will change soon.

“It’s going to be a lot of people looking to return to work,” Dooley said. “I don’t think COVID is going anywhere anytime soon, so we have to figure out how we adjust from here.”

Both agencies are offering incentives to get people through the doors. For example HireLevel is hosting a career fair on August 5th for resumes and interview tips. Express Employment is having a Christmas in July.

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