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Al Pscholka, vice president of public relations and government affairs for Kinexus Group, discusses the hurdles that local business owners have seen throughout the pandemic during a Thursday panel.

BENTON HARBOR — With unemployment benefits being extended and increased, and a requirement to look for work being eliminated, Southwest Michigan businesses are fighting for their lives as available jobs remain unfilled.

“We have to stop incentivizing people to stay home,” said Luke Barber, president of Barber Packaging Co. in Bangor. He said an ongoing worker shortage is hurting his company, which will have far-reaching effects as products become unavailable.

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