WABASH VALLEY, (WTHI) -- As "Help Wanted" signs are posted all over the Wabash Valley, some people are continuing to choose unemployment checks over paychecks. However, this may soon change.
Recently, Governor Eric Holcomb announced a few significant changes for those seeking unemployment benefits. This comes after many people stopped looking for work because of the enhanced unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
One of those changes begins Tuesday, June 1. This will require all Hoosiers receiving unemployment benefits to be actively searching for a job. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development will require a weekly work search report from Hoosiers requesting assistance.
Additionally, the state will soon be dropping out of a federal program that provided an extra $300 in weekly payments. This will go into effect on June 19. These extra benefits have been in place for over a year when the federal government waived this requirement during the pandemic.
"This is one more aspect of the state of Indiana and other states [are doing] to try and get those people who have been on the sidelines and who have not actively sought employment to get them back in the labor force looking for work," Dr. Robert Guell, an economics professor at Indiana State University said.
As restrictions ease and more people go back to work, Guell says we could see upwards of 7-9% growth in the next quarter. He says overall, this could significantly impact the local and statewide economy for the better.
"It basically will get us back to not only to where we were when all of this went down a year ago, but where we might have been if COVID-19 never happened," he said.
Guell says the economy will rebound quickly, but the workforce participation rate may take longer to recover.
"I think it's probably going to be 2022 or 2023 or 2024 before we really start seeing an increase in the labor force," he said.
Additionally, unemployment rates may rise quickly, but Guell wants to emphasize this does not mean the economy is worsening.
"People need to understand it will also raise the unemployment rate, and that's because those people who sit on the sidelines aren't counted as being unemployed," he said. "It's not as though the economy will have gotten worse if these folks are actually looking for work; it is just that they are coming back into the system."
Indiana is one of several states beginning to limit unemployment benefits. However, across the state line, Illinois is not one of the states dismissing federal unemployment benefits.