Clark County officials concerned about employment

WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – Clark County officials are concerned about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on businesses.

Thursday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul met with Clark County officials and leaders to discuss current issues such as the ongoing pandemic, border security, and voting. However, the issue most concerning to Clark County is employment.

“We’re concerned about employment and job skills, and job training…we’ve got literally thousands of jobs here in Clark County that we can’t fill. Employers aren’t able to fill them because people aren’t coming back to work,” said Winchester City Commissioner Shannon Cox.

The City Commissioner says COVID-19 isn’t the sole reason, rather, it’s a contributing factor to the issues Clark County faces.

“The fact of the matter is, the policies that we have nationally and even some of them statewide in regards to unemployment and payments to people who aren’t working are just preventing people from taking jobs,” said Clark County Judge Executive Chris Pace.

Clark County Road Supervisor Allan Curtis says that it’s been hard to find applicants for the jobs his department has open.

“Right now we have two job openings. Two years ago, I would get eighty applicants. Now, I’m lucky if we get eight,” said Curtis.

Curtis thinks it’s because people make more money from unemployment benefits than working a 40-hour work week.

In a 2020 Kentucky Labor Force Update that compared wages to unemployment benefits, the state found that it assumes an unemployment recipient works 40 hours a week and pays $15 an hour. The update stated that Kentucky workers making minimum wage would likely receive more in benefits than their usual wages.

“The problem we have is that the government is paying people more not to work than they might receive for working. That’s what we’ve got right now,” said Senator Paul.

Thursday, Senator Paul also visited Lexington and Mount Sterling.

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