Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana is dropping out of a federal program that provides an extra $300 in weekly payments to unemployed workers and other programs that expanded unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the decision Monday, saying the changes would take effect June 19. Holcomb signed an executive order last week that reinstates a requirement that those receiving unemployment benefits will again have to show they are actively searching for work as of June 1.

The changes come as many businesses blame the extra $300 weekly payment and the ease of obtaining unemployment benefits with making it more difficult to fill job openings.

At least a dozen other states led by Republican governors have already announced they will stop paying the extra $300 benefit as soon as June or July.

Indiana is also ending its participation in a federal program that has made gig workers and the self-employed eligible for assistance for the first time and another that provides extra weeks of aid.

Holcomb said job openings are available around the state and pointed to Indiana's 3.9% unemployment rate for April, which was down from the pandemic peak of 16.9% a year earlier.

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