Kansas business owners report spike in job applications as federal unemployment benefits expire

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 7:12 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With some unemployment benefits recently expiring, Kansas business owners this week said they expect the record unemployment numbers to drop as they see more job applications coming in.

Business owners who spoke with Eyewitness News Thursday report seeing a spike in job applications in the last two weeks, since the weekly $600 boost, available through the CARES Act, expired for unemployed Kansans.

Until recently, several businesses had struggled to find employees who would come back to work after the state’s stay-at-home order expired.

“What we did at first, is I didn’t have enough people who wanted to come back to work. I reached out to them to see f they would come back to work, and they said ‘we’re making $600-plus the unemployment, we’re making about $1,050 a week,‘” Sabor restaurant owner Melad Stephan said. “I had to match that for them to come to work.”

Now, Kansans are only eligible for state benefits, which falls well short of the federal benefit. Business owners say, employees who refused to come back to work in recent months, now want to return to work.

“We had to hire more people for the last two or three weeks. We hired four people to work. We had some of our old employees who were on unemployment. They knew they were going to run out now, so they are reaching back out to us to see if we could put them back on the schedule,” Stephan said. “But we hired more people, so I don’t know if we could do that or not.”

At the same time, some are looking for work and struggling to find it. Congress is currently looking at the possibility of extending benefits, but it most likely would be significantly less than $600 per week.

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