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Another Voice: Pandemic policies are diluting our state's work ethic

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The entire nation is seeing a severe shortage of workers in almost every industry. Yet, despite that shortage, we still have recession-level unemployment numbers in many states. New York has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country at 7.6%, as of July. Yet, almost every employer I have encountered is desperate to hire workers.

Even before the pandemic, New York had the most generous unemployment system in the nation. Here, it has always been possible, under certain circumstances, to collect unemployment benefits even if you leave your job voluntarily. With the pandemic, fear of contracting Covid-19 became another acceptable circumstance. While this could be justifiable during the early days of the pandemic, it is less so with a vaccine readily available.

Without question, the traditional unemployment safety net took on different characteristics as the pandemic wore on into its second year and federal relief programs generously supplemented benefits. For many, unemployment became an option, rather than a necessity.

This spring, as businesses of all kinds strove to meet growing demand for goods and services, it quickly became apparent that demand for workers far outstripped supply. Many businesses could not and still cannot hire enough staff to operate at full capacity. Restaurants have reduced hours and menu offerings. Manufacturers are being........

© The Buffalo News

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