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Some states ending supplemental unemployment benefits

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Posted at 9:49 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 11:49:13-04

Some states have already made the decision to end supplemental unemployment benefits early and others could be following their lead.

The extra $300 a week is supposed to go until the beginning of September, but states can make their own call.

So far, the following states intend to drop the benefits over the summer: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Some argue the benefits take away the incentive to go back to work. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees and is calling on more policymakers to end the benefit now. It says these unfilled positions pose a "very real threat" to our economic recovery from the pandemic.

“It is likely playing a role in this constricted labor supply. It's so difficult to quantify how much, because I think that there is an interaction between the three pieces: the public health situation, childcare and then extended unemployment benefits,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab.

Konkel is an expert on the U.S. labor market. She says with the childcare situation, we still don't have all schools nationwide back 100% full-time. Add to that, there are fewer childcare options with closures happening because of the pandemic.

Also, she says because the industries having the most trouble hiring are those with in-person jobs, you can't count out public health as a reason people aren't taking these jobs.

Montana is offering a $1,200 return-to-work bonus to give an added incentive.

“If it's strictly about money and the wage, I can see a program like that working, but if it's about childcare and public health, it may not have that much of an impact, because if it's a single mom trying to figure out, ‘well I don't know where to take my kid during the day to take these positions,’ that type of bonus is not going to impact her in the same way,” said Konkel.

Even before the announcements about cuts, the number of people on expanded unemployment benefits nationwide has been trending down.