South Jersey economy improved in 2021 but did not fully recover from pandemic | Local news

Alinzo Love, 24, a construction apprentice, said that after the start of the pandemic, many construction contracts had not been signed or re-signed, which meant he had not worked for several days Last year.

“There was a lot of prayers and unemployment (insurance payments),” said Love, who rents her own accommodation at the Cape May courthouse. “This year I am full time. Last year I was not a full time employee.”

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Love, who graduated from Cape May County Technical High School in 2015, is a member of Local 172, which includes road workers. He has to work 4,000 hours in the field and 80 hours in the classroom to go from apprentice to worker, he said.

An eight-hour shift can be physically demanding on his back as he shovels asphalt in potholes, Love said. He wants to go from apprentice to worker because that means higher hourly wages, benefits, a pension, good companies to work for, and great colleagues.

“My end goal is to be in real estate. I’ll be doing construction, but I still want to be in real estate,” Love said.

After declining steadily in the first eight months of 2021, the labor force has started to rebound this fall, Cooke said. September and October saw increases of 1.8% and 3.2% year-on-year, respectively, he said.

“Whether or not this is related to the phasing out of extended and improved Unemployment Insurance (Unemployment Insurance) benefits is a somewhat open question given that several states that have chosen to end their insurance programs Unemployment during the pandemic last June did not see strong labor force rebounds last summer, “Cooke said.