As Hoosiers wait to find out whether the governor will cut off extra federal unemployment benefits, Republican legislative leaders say it’s time to get the system back to the pre-pandemic normal.
Gov. Eric Holcomb already announced one change this week: out-of-work Hoosiers will have to prove they’re actively searching for a job or lose their benefits, starting June 1. That requirement was suspended during the pandemic.
House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) applauded the move.
“We need people in the workforce," Huston said. "We hear it loud and clear from employers – and there’s tremendous opportunities available, too.”
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But some economists say it’s not pandemic changes to unemployment keeping jobs unfilled – it’s low wages and a lack of childcare. Indiana Democrats renewed their call this week for an increase in the minimum wage, which hasn’t been raised here in more than a decade.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said it’s time for employers to step up.
“I’m not an expert in economics but I did take a few of those classes in college and I think that’s how that works, yeah," Bray said. "If you want to get people to work, you’re going to have to start paying them a little more.”
Bray said Indiana has returned to its pre-pandemic challenges of getting people to fill open jobs.