Pandemic-related federal unemployment assistance ends this weekend in ND

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – Effective Saturday, the extra $300 some North Dakotans receive each week in unemployment money will be no more.

“Basically what we’re seeing at the end of this week is a return to pre-pandemic norms,” said Sarah Arnston with Job Service North Dakota.

Arnston says state-paid unemployment benefits will continue. “What is ending is the federal programs that were first brought about in the beginning of the pandemic,” she explained.

Last week, North Dakota had roughly 5,500 in-state and out-of-state claimants on federal unemployment programs.

The most current unemployment data for the state reflects a 4.1 percent unemployment rate In April.

That’s 4.8 percent lower than the same time period last year. However, “It is about double what it was pre-pandemic. So, two years ago this month, I believe we were somewhere in the two percent range and now we are 4.1,” Arnstron said.

Gov. Doug Burgum and those with Job Service say they hope opting out of the extra federal benefits will help address the ongoing workforce shortage across the state.

With ‘now hiring’ signs all over town, an employment agency says now is the time to get a job you’re passionate about or even think about a career change.

“This post-pandemic era that we’re in right now is so unique in that really, almost every industry is looking for help right now. We are truly, without a doubt, in a labor shortage,” explained David Dietz with Preference Employment Solutions in Fargo.

Dietz says focusing on transferable skills is important when looking for work in a new field. “Don’t think that you’re not qualified for some role just because you haven’t done it before.”

According to Job Service, healthcare, hospitality and construction are the top industries hiring.

North Dakota is one of 25 states ending its participation in federal unemployment benefits early.

Minnesotan workers will continue receiving them until the federal deadline of Sep. 6.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Local News, North Dakota News