‘It’s time to get back to work’: Idaho is ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits

AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File

BOISE, Idaho – Citing comments from Idaho business owners who are struggling to hire right now, Governor Brad Little said Tuesday the state will end participation in three federal pandemic unemployment compensation programs.

Beginning June 19, Idaho workers will no longer get: $300 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Fund; benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program that helps those who typically don’t qualify for unemployment; and funds through Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which extend benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted.

“Employers are telling me one of the big reasons they cannot recruit and retain some workers is because those employees are receiving more on unemployment than they would while working,” Gov. Little said in a statement online. “We see ‘Help Wanted’ signs everywhere. Idaho has the strongest economy in the nation, and we are a top 10 state for best employment, but there is more we can do. It’s time to get back to work.”

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“My decision is based on a fundamental conservative principle – we do not want people on unemployment. We want people working. A strong economy cannot exist without workers returning to a job.”

Idaho’s unemployment rate is currently at 3.2%, one of the lowest in the country. Compare that to a 6.1% unemployment rate nationwide. Washington’s unemployment rate in April was 5.4%.

Montana announced last week it would be ending the pandemic benefits as well. Several other states have announced they would do the same, including Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and South Carolina.

You can read Governor Little’s full statement here.


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