A total of 22 states have decided to opt-out of President Biden’s enhanced unemployment benefits program in an attempt to encourage unemployed individuals to return to work. Critics of the Biden administration’s policy have argued that the federal increase of $300 is disincentivizing Americans to rejoin the workforce, despite near-record levels of job openings.
The enhanced unemployment policy was a part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, entitled the ‘American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.’
“The amount of job openings in Texas is far greater than the number of Texans looking for employment, making these unemployment benefits no longer necessary,” Texas, one of the states to drop the benefits, Governor Greg Abbott wrote in a letter to Biden.
Currently, the Republican-led states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming are set to end the enhanced benefits within the next few months.
Arizona, New Hampshire, Montana, and Oklahoma have also announced hiring incentive programs.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu recently announced a new ‘Summer Stipends’ state program offering bonuses of $500 – $1000 for workers that begin a new job and work for at least eight weeks.
“Let’s get back to work,” Sununu said after announcing the program.