More than 80,000 Arizonans to lose enhanced unemployment benefits in 2 weeks

After a year and a half, federally enhanced unemployment benefits will end in two weeks after millions needed the additional money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, tens of thousands of people still rely on the money every week.

"It is so hard," said Prescott resident Elizabeth Newcomb. "It is so hard."

As a single mom, she lost her school cafeteria job because of the pandemic and can’t get off a child care waitlist to start working again. Her kids are already quarantining because of a virus exposure at school.

"I have to keep them and not let them [go] back to school," Newcomb said.

Finding a job to work around that has been hard.

She’s one of 87,467 Arizonans who will lose enhanced unemployment benefits in two weeks when the program expires.

Dave Wells with the Grand Canyon Institute says at some point, the benefits need to end, but he says the economy isn’t fully recovered.

"These people are going to be in a difficult place," Wells said. "We were going to get there eventually, these benefits were going to end, but the hope was we’d at least get to the employment level we were at before the pandemic. But it isn’t going to happen."

The Department of Economic Security said they’re working to help job seekers find the right fit.

Newcomb says the challenge is finding the right job that works for her child care needs.

"Even 6 or 7 hours with me would be great," she said.

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