(The Center Square) – With the state's businesses having difficulty hiring workers, Gov. Greg Gianforte is ending Montana's participation in a federal program that provides enhanced benefits to individuals on unemployment.
“Montana is open for business again, but I hear from too many employers throughout our state who can’t find workers," Gianforte said in a statement. "Nearly every sector in our economy faces a labor shortage.”
Instead, Gianforte said, beginning next month the state will offer a $1,200 bonus for unemployed individuals who return to work.
"Incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good," the governor added. "We need to incentivize Montanans to reenter the workforce.”
Employers across the country say they've had a hard time hiring workers in recent months, at least in part because of the supplemental unemployment benefits offered by the federal government during the pandemic. In addition to state benefits, unemployed workers are receiving $300 a week in federal payments. The current federal supplemental benefit program expires Sept. 6. That, employers say, has incentivized many to stay home.
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in April despite businesses trying to recruit new workers.
Montana will end the federal program June 27. The state of South Carolina announced last week that it will end its participation in the program effective June 30.