INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (WTHI) -- Enhanced unemployment benefits are officially ending in Indiana this weekend.
Indiana is one of 26 states ending benefits this summer. These benefits have been in place for more than a year as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But now, multiple states, including Indiana, will end these extra benefits as the economy continues to recover. The state ultimately hopes the decision to end unemployment benefits means more Hoosiers will go back to work.
"The whole time, states have had to opt-in or opt-out," Dr. Robert Guell, a professor of economics at Indiana State University, said. "Every state opted in originally. But as things have gotten a whole lot better economically and in the job picture, states have begun to opt-out."
Guell says there are many reasons for this decision. One of the main ones is the state needs more workers.
"The labor market is so tight that it is so hard for businesses to find employees in that $25,000 to $50,000 a year job range," he said. "It's just so hard for them to find employees."
Many officials believe that people did not go back to work right away because the enhanced unemployment benefits covered their expenses. Guell says people could make up to $690 a week at one point. This is more than some would earn on a weekly basis.
Now, unemployment benefits will go back to pre-pandemic numbers. Guell says for Indiana, this is 47% of your average paycheck, capped at $390 dollars a week.
Local economists and government officials believe this decision is one step closer to solving the worker shortage problem many places are facing throughout the state.
"The people who have been sitting on their sidelines waiting for a reason to get back in, those folks probably will come back into the labor market," he said.
If you're looking for work, many places in the area are hiring. Check out WTHI's Virtual Job Fair by clicking here.