By Macy Obernuefemann

Springfield, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently announced he plans to cut unemployment benefits in Missouri.

The cut is due to a drop in unemployment rates over the past year. Missouri’s labor department says unemployment is currently at about 5%.

According to Jeff Seifried, a Branson chamber of commerce member, jobs are on the rise in the Springfield area. “Companies are really challenged to find good employees or employees period,” said Seirfried.

While employment in Springfield may be up, residents on unemployment won’t have much time to look for a job. Currently, eligible Missouri residents can receive unemployment benefits for up to 20 weeks, with Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed cuts that amount could be lowered to as low as 13 weeks.

This budget cut would put Missouri’s unemployment benefit period at the second lowest in the nation. The only state with a lower unemployment benefit period would be North Carolina.

“Anytime you are going to cut benefits it’s not a hot topic, it’s not a sexy topic, and it’s not exciting. It really effects how people live and work on a daily basis. So, it’s a very serious issue,” Seifried said.

Labor unions are taking the issue very seriously. Seriously enough to ask for a lawsuit against the act. If Governor Nixon decides to implement the bill, the cuts would take effect in January 2016.