Tennessee businesses and unemployed watching DC stimulus negotiations


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It seems every day in Tennessee we hear of more small businesses closing, but places still struggling could get help from another stimulus package.

“My belief about stimulus money is it ought to go to businesses, that is how you are going to stimulate the economy. That’s how you going to keep ’em movin. That’s how you are going to keep people’s jobs coming back,” said Republican Governor Bill Lee during an extended video conference interview with Nashville’s conservative Beacon Center in late August.

New figures Thursday show 176,388 Tennesseans still drawing unemployment as of last week, but most are getting an additional $300 weekly in a temporary program from Washington called Lost Wages Assistance.

Those we have talked to looking for work hope they are not forgotten in a new stimulus bill as they live on what the state pays weekly on a jobless claim.

“When you are used to making $900 a week and you are tied down to $275 that makes a big difference,” said Joe Driver of Dickson County during an interview with News 2 on August 25.

That’s why people like Joe and many other Tennesseans are watching what happens in Washington with a stimulus bill. The number of Tennesseans on unemployment is about half of what it was from a peak of 325,000 in early May.

Since August 1, the number of Tennesseans filing new unemployment claims has remained between 10,000-12,000 people weekly.

Before the pandemic shut down some businesses in mid-March, the figure then was about 2,700 Tennesseans filing for the state’s weekly jobless benefits.

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