Indiana restoring work-search rule for jobless benefits

Indiana residents receiving unemployment benefits will again have to show they are actively searching for work as the governor is reinstating a requirement that he lifted soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state.

Posted: May 12, 2021 11:17 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana residents receiving unemployment benefits will again have to show they are actively searching for work as the governor is reinstating a requirement that he lifted soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order Tuesday that puts the job search requirement back in place starting June 1.

Indiana is joining several other states creating more requirements for people to stay on unemployment, with many businesses blaming the ease of obtaining the weekly jobless benefits with making it more difficult to fill job openings.

Holcomb said last week he was directing the state Department of Workforce Development for a demographic analysis of unemployed residents while he considered whether to withdraw Indiana from a $300-a-week supplemental federal payment on top of state benefits. The maximum state payment is $390 a week.

“Our unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent, which is near pre-pandemic levels, and our labor force mirrors pre-pandemic levels, when we also had worker shortages,” Holcomb said in a statement.

The governor’s new order means that those seeking unemployment benefits must submit a weekly report on their job-seeking efforts, which can include applying for work, attending job fairs or participating in state workshops.

Indiana had about 60,000 people receiving traditional unemployment benefits in mid-April — down some 195,000, or 75%, from a year ago, according to federal statistics. About 225,000 people received payments from other federal jobless programs started to assist those who lost income during the pandemic.

The state’s unemployment rate has plunged since peaking at 16.9% in April 2020. It was 3.9% for last month after being stable between 3.1% and 3.6% over a three-year span before the pandemic prompted widespread business closures.

Republican legislative leaders said they supported Holcomb’s actions.

“We’re back to the challenge that we had pre pandemic were trying to find bodies to fill jobs,” Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said.

Businesses might also need to become more aggressive to hire workers, such as many fast-food restaurants have done in paying more than minimum wage, Bray said.

“If you want to get people to work, you are going to have to start paying them a little more,” Bray said. “I think that employers are going to have to do that in order to compete.”

The Indiana Democratic Party said state officials need to help those in low-paying jobs, including the estimated nearly 900,000 people working for minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

“We cannot ignore the reality that it’s time for Indiana to increase its minimum wage and provide better opportunities for our workers.” Said Lauren Ganapini, the state Democratic Party’s executive director.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

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