TN Business Groups Applaud Lee's Decision on Federal Unemployment Assistance

Date: May 11, 2021

Tennessee’s most prominent business groups across the state in a variety of sectors today thanked Gov. Bill Lee for addressing the labor shortage crisis by ending our state’s participation in the federal unemployment program that gives people extra weekly unemployment benefit payments. Tennessee employers have noted that enhanced unemployment benefits are a major contributor to severe labor shortages across the state impeding economic recovery and challenging business operations and service to customers.

Beginning July 3, unemployed workers in the state will no longer receive $300 in extra weekly benefits authorized by the federal government through Sept. 6.

The groups below signed the following statement:

“We thank Governor Lee for his prompt action to address an unprecedented labor shortage. Tennessee is open for business, but ‘Help Wanted’ signs are posted across our state.

“Our members continue to report few available workers and repeated skipped interviews for open jobs. The labor shortage is at an all-time high in Tennessee and nationally, according to an NFIB survey. Forty-four percent of small business owners report having job openings they could not fill, 22 points higher than the 48-year historical average and the third consecutive month with a record-breaking reading.

“We understood the need for the initial enhancement of unemployment benefits last year when jobs were scarce and many businesses were closed; however, with continued economic recovery and many available jobs, it’s critical that national and state leaders remove any and all barriers to help achieve full recovery and keep more Tennessee businesses from closing. Despite increasing wages and offering ‘show-up’ bonuses, Tennessee business owners are frustrated in being unable to fill hundreds of thousands of open positions.

“Since last year, thousands of entrepreneurs have lost their businesses in our state, and thousands more are in jeopardy of losing their lifetime investments in their businesses, workers and communities. Governor Lee’s action to exit the federal unemployment program will help many job creators stay afloat.

“We call on leadership in Congress to take immediate actions to get people back to work and continue the post-pandemic recovery that all Tennesseans want to experience.”

AGC of Tennessee
Associated Builders & Contractors of Greater Tennessee
Bristol Chamber of Commerce
Chattanooga Area Chamber
Home Builders Association of Tennessee
Hospitality TN
Jackson Chamber
Kingsport Chamber
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association
Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association
Tennessee Road Builders Association

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