With more jobs than ever available in New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu announced on Tuesday that he will end the $300 unemployment supplement and offer a return to work stipend for job seekers.

Holding his weekly coronavirus update on Tuesday instead of Thursday due to a scheduling issue, Sununu followed through on his promise to end the $300 supplement on June 19.

"When the pandemic first started back in March of 2020, New Hampshire was one of the first to provide enhanced unemployment insurance for those needing to stay at home due to COVID-19, whether it was caring for a sick family member or staying at
home due to remote learning," Sununu said, adding that the state's unemployment rate leaped from 2.7 percent to 16 percent when pandemic shutdowns started.

Sununu said the unemployment rate has returned to prepandemic levels with 14,000 available jobs.

"Everyone is looking to hire. Wages are in some cases starting at $15 or $20 per hour. It’s really an awesome opportunity for our citizens to get back to work
and be economically successful for themselves and their family," Sununu said.

Sununu will set aside $10 million for a "summer stipend" with a $500 bonus for people who take part-time work and $1,000 to those taking full-time work.

The program begins immediately.

"The timing works really well with our summer tourism season," Sununu said.

When asked where the money for the bonus was coming from Sununu said it was coming from different sources and that nobody who has been working through the pandemic should be upset.

"We have a couple different opportunities with some of the federal assistance that has come. Whether it be ESA money, some of the AARP money, there’s different pots out there that we can use to pay for it," Sununu said.

As employers continue to struggle with hiring for the summer season, New Hampshire looks to be the first state in the Northeast to end the $300 unemployment supplement.

The supplement, part of President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, provides an additional federal payment to those collecting unemployment from their respective states. It is also blamed for creating difficulties in hiring for the summer months especially for restaurants, hotels and other tourism-related businesses.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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