NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Economists and unemployed Tennesseans are furious about a statement from the governor that the unemployment crisis is over.
"The crisis is over."
Those were the words from the Governor when News4 asked him about eliminating federal unemployment benefits
TONIGHT AT 6:Joseph Guerrier saw our post where Governor Bill Lee stated that the "crisis is over." He's been in the IT field for 14 years, has an MBA and still can't find a job. We spoke with him and an economist for a non-partisan think tank that says it's far from over. @WSMV https://t.co/sm2LBH2HpD pic.twitter.com/qd5ZJyoSPQ— Caresse Jackman (@CaresseJ) May 26, 2021
"No it's not," Nashville resident Joseph Guerrier said.
That's Guerrier's reaction to the governor's declaration.
"In reality, what he says--is not true," Guerrier said.
A Haitian native, Guerrier has his MBA and worked in IT for 14 years. Still, he's having trouble finding a job in his field.
"Some of these jobs have been on the website since 2020. And when you click on the job, either the job is no longer available...or this job has expired," Guerrier said.
The unemployed are challenging Gov. Bill Lee. They said his reasoning for taking away unemployment doesn't help their situation at all.
News4 had the same questions for the governor.
"Yeah, we have a quarter-million job openings in this state, and 160,000 people on unemployment. Those are number of recent weeks so, we have significantly more employment opportunities than we do unemployed. And that's why we made the decisions that we have..yeah," Governor Lee said.
"I was like, this is insane. This is not true. And it's hurtful! It's hurtful!" Guerrier said.
"Absolutely, we're still in a crisis," Elise Gould said.
Elise Gould is a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan Think Tank in DC.
"9 to 11 million more people don't have a job that would've had a job. We're on a very different trajectory," Gould said. "That means, they do not have wages to be paying their bill. They do not have income. Many people are struggling --it's very difficult for many people out there today."
NASHVILLE, TN. - For the first time, we now know just how many people are impacted by Governor Bill Lee's decision to end federal unemployment…
It's a reality Odessa Kelly's non-profit, Stand Up Nashville, sees everyday as they assist the working class.
"Tennessee has one of the highest percentile of the lowest wage jobs. People were literally making more money in unemployment than they were working," Kelly said.
Guerrier said if he could speak with the governor, he'd ask him for more compassion and understanding.
"Give me an opportunity. I'll go to work tomorrow. That's all I want. I don't want you to hand me anything because I work hard for everything," Guerrier said.
Gould added that we're still millions of jobs below where we need to be as a country to have a more robust economy. So while we're making progress, we still have a long way to go.