Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said Tuesday the state will stop participating in multiple pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs because of a workforce shortage.
“Effective June 12, 2021, the State of Iowa will end its participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs. Iowa will continue to provide regular state unemployment insurance benefits to those eligible under the applicable state code,” she said in a press release, according to KCCI.
The week ending on June 12 will be the final week the listed programs are available in the state: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC).
Gov. Reynolds continued:
Federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs initially provided displaced Iowans with crucial assistance when the pandemic began. But now that our businesses and schools have reopened, these payments are discouraging people from returning to work. Our unemployment rate is at 3.7%, vaccines are available to anyone who wants one, and we have more jobs available than unemployed people.
The governor’s office cited Iowa’s strong economy in regard to the decision and said it is designed to deal with an acute workforce shortage, according to WHO 13.
“Regular unemployment benefits will remain available, as they did before the pandemic, but it’s time for everyone who can to get back to work,” Reynolds explained. “This country needs to look to the future, and Iowa intends to lead the way.”
Iowa is the latest state to decline federal unemployment benefits, We Are Iowa reported Tuesday.
“Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Montana, and South Carolina state leaders announced federal unemployment benefits would end for its residents in the coming weeks,” the outlet said.
In addition, Reynolds recently joined an increasing number of Republican governors voicing their opinion and standing against issuing vaccine passports to American citizens.
“Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve consistently put my trust in Iowans to do the right thing, rather than demand or mandate it,” she said. “Vaccination is no different. While I’ll believe in the efficacy of the vaccine enough to get it myself and encourage Iowans to do the same, I also respect that it’s a personal choice.”