BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Doug Burgum announced Monday that North Dakota will terminate its participation in the federal government’s pandemic-related unemployment assistance programs, effective June 19.

Burgum said in a statement that ending the $300 weekly federal supplemental benefit that is on top of state benefits is being done “to help address the ongoing workforce shortage across the state.”

North Dakota had 16,396 online job openings in April, which was nearly 50 percent higher than the same period in 2020 and represents the state’s largest number of online job openings since July 2015, according to Job Service North Dakota.

Burgum said more than 8,300 people are claiming unemployment benefits under the programs North Dakota is terminating on June 19. He said the programs have paid out more than $700 million in unemployment benefits, though 29% of federal program claimants live out of state.

“Federal funds provided a safety net to our unemployed workers during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now that open jobs are surpassing pre-pandemic levels, we believe that re-employment is the best recovery plan for North Dakota‘s economic health,” said Bryan Klipfel, executive director of Job Service North Dakota.