1,000 workers learn of potential layoffs at agency in Lee’s Summit

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In this May 7, 2020 file photo, a pedestrian walks by The Framing Gallery, closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Grosse Pointe, Mich. The U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record. The figures are stark evidence of the damage the coronavirus has done to a now-shattered economy.. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — About 1,000 contract employees of a federal agency have received notice that their jobs face elimination in what would be one of the largest mass layoffs of the year for the Kansas City area.

The Kansas City Star reports that the employees work for the National Benefits Center, which processes paperwork for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, at offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas.

The fee-funded U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has taken a financial hit amid the coronavirus pandemic and is seeking emergency funding from Congress, saying that it is going to run out of money this summer. 

Unemployment rates continue to rise as the pandemic’s effects ripple across industries. Missouri’s unemployment rate more than doubled to 9.7% due to the coronavirus.

However, some companies have seen surges in demand. A tech-driven insurance company and a national medical equipment supplier are bringing 700 new jobs to the Kansas City metro as a result of pandemic-based expansion.

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