By: Konrad Holden
Louisiana’s Democratic Governor just signed a bill that will opt the state out of federal unemployment benefits. This comes as many businesses across the country have been unable to find workers due to the massive amount of money people can receive for staying unemployed. Louisiana is the first Democrat-run state to opt-out of the federal program.
After the federal government passed the CARES Act in 2020, federal unemployment funds went to many Americans on top of their state unemployment benefits. Today, many Republican-run states have opted out of that money, citing the fact that many low wage workers are not returning to work.
And last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) signed a bill to opt Louisiana out of the federal funds. This marks the first blue state that has opted out.
In addition to opting out of the federal funds, the bill also raises the state unemployment checks slightly: from $247 to $275 per week.
Edwards said his decision is an attempt to strike a reasonable balance for the unemployed and Louisiana businesses that have struggled to find workers due to the extraordinarily high unemployment assistance. Assistance reached $547 per week while the state was accepting the federal funds.
The extremely high unemployment number has even worried policymakers at the Federal Reserve. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell remarked last week that “unemployment insurance payments appear to be weighing on employment growth.”
It turns out that when the government pays people to stay at home, they will.
“Employers are telling me one of the big reasons they cannot recruit and retain some workers is because those employees are receiving more on unemployment than they would while working.” - Gov. Brad Little (R-ID)