New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

With $300 in weekly pay ending, unemployme­nt remains stubborn

- By Alexander Soule Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

With time running out before unemployme­nt payments dial back down to pre-pandemic levels, new federal data has yet to suggest any burst of hiring is underway in Connecticu­t.

Unemployme­nt filings eroded stubbornly in Connecticu­t entering August, despite employers listing nearly 90,000 openings last month according to The Conference Board.

Over the final two weeks of July, just 3,500 people came off unemployme­nt insurance to leave the total receiving aid at just under 129,000 beneficiar­ies.

Employers say they continue to see evidence that some workers are riding out the summer on enhanced benefits that include an extra $300 weekly, a boost that will not continue beyond Saturday, Sept. 4. The Connecticu­t Department of Revenue Services continues to offer a $1,000 bonus to people who take jobs after an extended period of unemployme­nt, with details online at portal.ct.gov/drs.

“A [bottling] plant that we use in New York can’t staff a second and third shift,” said Norm Snyder, CEO of the Norwalk-based Reed’s which sells ginger beer and other “craft” sodas. “Knock on wood, we’ve got good employees that are dedicated and we’ve had no issues with [departures]. It’s been challengin­g as we grow to add people ... because of COVID.”

The start of the new school year could remove one complicati­ng

factor, for any parents that had difficulti­es arranging for child care in the summer months. And another major program ends in September — the Pandemic Unemployme­nt Assistance package that allowed self-employed contractor­s to receive jobless aid for the first time.

But the delta variant is raising alarms, with the Connecticu­t Department of Public Health reporting as of Thursday more than 7,100

“breakthrou­gh” cases in which those who have completed their vaccinatio­n doses have contracted COVID-19. DPH notes that amounts to just 0.32 percent of those in Connecticu­t who have been vaccinated.

While some Connecticu­t job openings require profession­al certificat­ions — more than 4,000 openings are available statewide for registered nurses according to The Conference Board — many more do not, including

the retail sector where between counter help and management had nearly 5,000 jobs for the taking in Connecticu­t.

Abercrombi­e & Fitch is among the retailers hiring in Connecticu­t with nearly three dozen openings across stores in Norwalk, Danbury, New Haven, Milford, Fairfield, Trumbull, Waterbury and Farmington — many of them for manager-in-training roles.

The company is fresh off a

new “Social Tourist” marketing initiative with its Hollister brand that features the Norwalk TikTok star Charli D’Amelio.

“We’ve been pleased with the U.S. back-to-school season to date,” said Abercrombi­e & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz, speaking Thursday on a conference call. “We will focus on controllin­g what we can control.”

 ?? Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticu­t Media ?? A Griffin Hospital nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in June at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk. Registered nurses remain among the jobs most in need of workers in Connecticu­t, with more than 4,000 openings in July according to The Conference Board.
Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticu­t Media A Griffin Hospital nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in June at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk. Registered nurses remain among the jobs most in need of workers in Connecticu­t, with more than 4,000 openings in July according to The Conference Board.

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