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Our Opinion: Getting back to work

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with mammoth challenges in most every block of life. Among the many disruptions for millions was the loss of employment and a suddenly questionable future.

Often done through kicking and screaming, the Federal government OKed multiple packages to get needed funds into the hands of people who were suddenly forced into making unfortunate choices including food and paying the bills.

This included a momentous relief plan that came in the form of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Relief Plan, which put direct payments of $1,400 in the pockets of most Americans as well as a $300 per week unemployment insurance supplement through Sept. 6, among other things.

However, as America continues working toward recovery it’s the perfect time to urge people to get back into the workforce and continue contributing to the economic recovery.

From the time it passed, this last package has largely been able to do what it intended and slowly the United State economic outlook has been improving.

Over 75% of Americans approved of the plan and at the time it was warranted. It was a chance to get America back on track and give Americans a lifeline.

Unfortunately, some families may continue to struggle and rely on this unemployment assistance, but those who are capable of working, it’s time to get back into the workforce.

A particular argument points to unemployment seemingly paying more than a job would, presenting no real incentive to get back to work, especially as people argue that many places don’t offer a satisfactory living wage.

However, another part of this is people may not be aware of what’s available to them or may be too centered on one particular area to see the alternatives.

An Associated Press article Friday showed a slowdown in hiring in April. Minnesota gained just 11,300 jobs, the fewest of any month this year. The state gained 24,000 jobs in March by comparison. The timing is less than ideal as the story reported that the slowdown came as hiring picked up.

The economic picture does look far better than it did. Friday’s AP story also reported that about 244,000 people in the state are still receiving unemployment benefits. This is down by half since last year when the pandemic was at its height.

Sept. 6 is a ways out, but the jobs are out there now. Businesses are hiring and are needing people to work and consequently, when businesses return so too will the towns they call home.

It’s now up to personal responsibility. The government can not and should not continue to be a parachute to those able to work. If you can work, it’s up to you to go get that job. The economy rises even faster once more people start getting into the workforce.