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Government

Republican Legislative Leaders Applaud Unemployment System Change

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Brandon Smith
/
IPB News

As Hoosiers wait to find out whether the governor will cut off extra federal unemployment benefits, Republican legislative leaders say it’s time to get the system back to the pre-pandemic normal.

Gov. Eric Holcomb already announced one change this week: out-of-work Hoosiers will have to prove they’re actively searching for a job or lose their benefits, starting June 1. That requirement was suspended during the pandemic.

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) applauded the move.

“We need people in the workforce," Huston said. "We hear it loud and clear from employers – and there’s tremendous opportunities available, too.”

READ MORE: Experts Say Other Factors Are Causing Hiring Woes – Not Unemployment Benefits

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But some economists say it’s not pandemic changes to unemployment keeping jobs unfilled – it’s low wages and a lack of childcare. Indiana Democrats renewed their call this week for an increase in the minimum wage, which hasn’t been raised here in more than a decade.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said it’s time for employers to step up.

“I’m not an expert in economics but I did take a few of those classes in college and I think that’s how that works, yeah," Bray said. "If you want to get people to work, you’re going to have to start paying them a little more.”

Bray said Indiana has returned to its pre-pandemic challenges of getting people to fill open jobs.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.