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Wyoming governor announces end to federal pandemic aid for unemployed

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Posted at 5:14 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 21:02:06-04

Governor Mark Gordon announced Tuesday that Wyoming will end the $300 federal unemployment supplement and other pandemic-related aid, following other GOP governors who say they're trying to relieve workforce shortages.

Gordon said in a news release that the state will stop the payments on June 19.

“Wyoming needs workers, our businesses are raring to go,” Gordon said in a statement. “I recognize the challenges facing Wyoming employers, and I believe it’s critical for us to do what we can to encourage more hiring. Federal unemployment programs have provided short-term relief for displaced and vulnerable workers at a tough time, but are now hindering the pace of our recovery. People want to work, and work is available. Incentivizing people not to work is just plain un-American.”

In addition to ending the $300 payments, Gordon's action will also restore the length of regular unemployment benefits to 26 weeks (the duration rose to 53 weeks with federal aid). He's also ending the expansion of the eligible pool of applicants, which had grown to include the self-employed and other nonprofits that didn't pay into Wyoming's unemployment insurance fund.

Other Republican governors, including Greg Gianforte in Montana and Henry McMaster of South Carolina, made similar announcement last week, also citing workforce shortage in their states.

In making his announcement, Gianforte said Montanans will receive a bonus of up to $1,200 for returning to work and staying on the job.

No similar incentives have been announced in Wyoming, but the state's Department of Workforce Services reminded workers they could still be eligible for state benefits.