U.S. Senator Roy Blunt in Ozarks to address labor shortage

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 4:36 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Senator Roy Blunt made several stops in Ozark on Wednesday. He toured the White River Marine Group and spoke about the current labor shortage and how he’s working to address it.

Blunt also made appearances at the MARCO plant in Mount Vernon, Superior Gearbox Company in Stockton, and Ozarks Community Health Clinic in Greenfield.

Sen. Blunt says he believes many challenges small businesses are facing are due to current federal unemployment policies.

“A lot of people given the choice to stay home and get paid or work and get paid would choose to stay home and get paid,” said Blunt

With COVID-19 restrictions fading and more businesses reopening, Blunt is optimistic more people will have opportunities to apply for jobs, similar to what they did prior to the pandemic.

Other factors are hindering the labor shortage, but Blunt admits the biggest concern is employers finding people actively looking for work.

“What I’m hearing from manufacturing places all over our state is that the cost of materials is going up. And just finding people to work are our two biggest problems.”

Starting next week, Missouri is set to end all pandemic-related unemployment benefits, which is a direct move to address workforce shortage across the state, according to Governor Mike Parson.

“I think that the governor’s decision to go ahead and eliminate the $300 extra, every week, will help move people in the direction of back to work as much as anything else that the state could do,” said Blunt.

The unemployment rate in Missouri stand at 4.10%, which is currently tied for 13th as one of the lowest rates in the country.

“There is a responsibility at the federal level to not just put a lot of money into the economy and not make unemployment benefits so high that people are reluctant to go to work.”

Blunt will be in Springfield Thursday speaking at Good Morning Springfield on the campus of Evangel University.

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