DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that Iowa will join a bevy of Republican-led states ending pandemic-related federal programs that give extra cash to unemployed workers.
The state will end the federal boosts, including an additional $300-a-week unemployment payment, Reynolds said in a news release. That benefit was scheduled to run through early September.
Reynolds said in the announcement that the benefits are causing a labor shortage in the state and are hindering the state’s economy — a charge echoed by conservative groups and Republican governors in several other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Montana and South Carolina.
“Now that our businesses and schools have reopened, these payments are discouraging people from returning to work,” Reynolds said. "Our unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, vaccines are available to anyone who wants one, and we have more jobs available than unemployed people.”
But supporters of the federal unemployment programs point to other factors, including those reluctant to take jobs in service industries that require contact with the public for fear of contracting COVID-19 and parents who don’t have child care.
The federal benefits will end June 12, Reynolds said. Regular, pre-pandemic unemployment benefits will remain available.