Cincinnati is the most affordable US city for renters living alone, a new report shows. Here’s how the top 10 stack up.

Cincinnati, O
Cincinnati claimed the top spot in SmartAsset’s study for the fourth year in a row.

  • SmartAsset compared the 100 largest US cities to see which are the most affordable for solo renters.
  • It used five metrics, including wages and the percentage of housing units with two bedrooms or fewer.
  • These are the 10 most affordable cities, according to its research.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
SmartAsset compared the 100 largest US cities.

One Bedroom Apartment in Chicago Sonder
A one bedroom apartment in a Chicago Sonder location.

The financial-advice company analyzed the cities based on five metrics: the percentage of housing units with fewer than two bedrooms and the average price of these, median earnings for full-time workers, unemployment rate, and cost of living.

It then ranked 10 most affordable cities for solo renters.

1. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati
Cincinnati ranked top in the study.

Cincinnati claimed the top spot for the fourth year in a row.

Average rent for a one-bed unit is $612 per month, the fifth-lowest of the 100 cities in the study, and it has a relatively low cost of living at $22,721 per year, putting it in the top ten, SmartAsset said. I

nsider’s Liz Knueven reported that her grocery bills were nearly cut in half when she moved from Seattle to Cincinnati, and dining out and transport suddenly became a lot cheaper, too.

Cincinnati also came in the top 20 for its April 2021 unemployment rate, at 4.6%, and the proportion of occupied housing units that have fewer than two bedrooms, at just over 28%, per SmartAsset’s report.

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minnesota Arch Bridge over river
Nearly a third of occupied housing units in Minneapolis have just one bedroom.

Minneapolis‘ average rent and living costs both ranked towards the middle of the 100 cities SmartAsset analyzed, but the city scored well on the other three metrics.

Its April unemployment rate was 4.2%, compared to a national average of 6.1%, nearly a third of occupied housing units in the city have one bedroom, and average earnings for full-time workers in 2019 were almost $56,500.

3. Omaha, Nebraska

omaha
Omaha’s April unemployment rate was just 3%.

Omaha’s April unemployment rate was less than half the national average, at just 3%, putting it joint second-lowest in the study. It also has a relatively low cost of living and average rent, SmartAsset found.

4. St. Louis, Missouri

st louis
St Louis ranked in the top 20% for both average rent and cost of living.

Nearly a third of occupied housing units in St. Louis have one bedroom, SmartAsset said in its report. It also ranked in the top 20% of cities that SmartAsset analyzed for both average rent and cost of living.

5. Lexington, Kentucky

lexington kentucky
Lexington’s unemployment rate in April was just 3.2%.

Lexington‘s unemployment rate in April was well below average, at just 3.2%. The city also has low living costs and average rents, SmartAsset found.

6. Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln had the lowest April unemployment rate in the report.

Lincoln had the lowest April unemployment rate of the 100 cities in the report, at 2.2%. It also has below-average rent and living costs, SmartAsset said.

7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s annual cost of living is $23,463 per year.

Pittsburgh has the 17th-lowest estimated annual cost of living of the 100 cities SmartAsset analyzed, at $23,463 per year. It also ranked within the top 30 for its average earnings for full-time workers, at $51,328 per year.

8. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky
It ranks in the top 15% for three metrics.

Louisville, Kentucky ties in eight place with Tulsa, Oklahoma. It ranks in the top 15 of the 100 cities SmartAsset analyzed for three metrics: cost of living, April unemployment rate, and average rent for units with fewer than two bedrooms, where it came in at just $676 per month.

8. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa
Tulsa has the second-lowest cost of living of the 100 cities in the study.

Tulsa ranks within the top 10% of the cities SmartAsset analyzed for two metrics: average rent for units with fewer than two bedrooms, at $658 per month, and annual cost of living, at $22,786 – the second-lowest in the study.

The city is offering $10,000 to out-of-state remote workers to relocate there as part of a program aiming to help fuel Tulsa’s growth.

10. Boise, Idaho

boise
Boise’s unemployment rate was just 3% in April.

Boise had the joint second-lowest April unemployment rate of the 100 cities in the study, at 3%. It also came 10th for cost of living, at $23,123 per year.

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An Ohio hospital accidentally gave the wrong patient a kidney transplant

A medical complex, including University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center is seen in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., February 15, 2018. Picture taken February 15, 2018.
A medical complex, including University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center is seen in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., February 15, 2018. Picture taken February 15, 2018.

  • Two employees at University Hospitals in Cleveland have been placed on leave after the wrong patient received a kidney transplant.
  • It’s unclear exactly how the mix-up happened, but the hospital is investigating.
  • The hospital said the patient who received the kidney is recovering and that the kidney was compatible.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two employees at an Ohio hospital have been placed on leave after the wrong patient received a kidney transplant earlier this month.

It’s unclear exactly how the patients at University Hospitals in Cleveland got mixed up.

A spokesperson for University Hospitals told WKYC that the patient who received the kidney is recovering and that the kidney was compatible.

“We are dismayed that an error recently occurred resulting in one patient receiving a kidney intended for another,” spokesperson George Stamatis told WKYC. “Another patient’s transplant surgery has been delayed.”

The hospital is working with the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages transplants, to investigate what happened.

“We have offered our sincerest apologies to these patients and their families. We recognize they entrusted us with their care. The situation is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to helping patients return to health and live life to the fullest,” Stamatis told WKYC.

There are more than 100,000 patients across the United States waiting for kidneys, and patients normally wait five to 10 years to find a match, according to UCLA Health.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Laid-off workers are scoring early wins in lawsuits against GOP governors attempting to cut off federal jobless aid

unemployment insurance weekly benefits stimulus checks recession job losses coronavirus pandemic
Carlos Ponce joins a protest in in Miami Springs, Florida, asking senators to continue unemployment benefits past July 31, 2020.

  • Jobless workers in Indiana and Maryland racked up early court wins about restoring federal unemployment.
  • “I think it certainly has the potential to start more cases,” one expert said of the litigation.
  • A lawyer who brought a similar case in Ohio said he may even go after the state for damages.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jobless workers in Ohio are the latest group to push back against Republican governors cutting off their federal benefits early – in court.

Federal benefits in the state wound down on June 26, months ahead of their scheduled expiration in September. Now, a new lawsuit representing three Ohio workers claims that the state is obligated to continue paying up.

The suit follows similar ones filed in Indiana and Maryland, both of which won temporary victories. In Indiana, firms argued that a similar law mandates the state procure all unemployment compensation conferred upon it, including compensation from amendments like those in the CARES Act. In other words, Republican governors might be trying to cancel extra unemployment from Biden’s stimulus, but it’s illegal.

The Ohio suit hinges on a specific part of state law that deals with the state’s responsibility to cooperate with the federal government on unemployment insurance – and whether it should “secure to this state and its citizens all advantages available.”

Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is now with DannLaw, one of the two firms representing plaintiffs in the case. He told Insider he believes the amendments to federal unemployment written into pandemic-era laws “are exactly the type of thing that it was the intention of the legislature that the governor is required – has a clear, legal duty – to accept and pass on to the folks that were represented.”

“I think it certainly has the potential to start more cases,” Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow and jobless policy expert at the left-leaning Century Foundation, said. “The legal argument made in Indiana was based on a set of components that were not unique to Indiana law.”

At least 400,000 jobless workers in Ohio are impacted by the additional $300 ending, according to an estimate from Stettner.

The three plaintiffs in the case say they won’t be able to pay their basic living expenses if all federal benefits are cut off early, including rent, food, and medications for pets and service animals.

But in Indiana, where a preliminary injunction was granted to temporarily halt the end of benefits, jobless workers may still face difficulty getting their money. The state’s Department of Workforce Development claims it can’t restore the benefits, HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney reported. It’s a situation that Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Insider he’s keeping a close eye on.

But in Ohio, “it would be real easy to get it restarted and, frankly, if they don’t, then we’ll look at bringing some sort of a damage action against the state to recover what they should have gotten,” Dann said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has said he’s planning to appeal the court’s 10-day injunction ordering the state to continue dispensing federal jobless benefits.

“Why wouldn’t a state that cares about the people that live in it, and who has a statutory obligation to pass on benefits that are available under federal law, why wouldn’t they do it?” Dann said.

Are you an unemployed worker with a story to share? Email these reporters at jkaplan@insider.com and jzeballos@insider.com.

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Republican Sen. Rob Portman says Trump is ‘definitely the leader of the party’

senator rob portman of ohio
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

  • GOP Sen. Rob Portman said former president Trump is “definitely” the leader of the party.
  • He cited his popularity “among the Republican base,” Portman said on ABC’s “This Week.”
  • His comments come after Trump’s first rally post-White House in Ohio Saturday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said former President Donald Trump is “definitely” the leader of the GOP in an interview Sunday morning.

During an interview on ABC’s “This Week” anchor, Jonathan Karl asked Portman if Trump is “the effective leader of the Republican Party?”

“He’s definitely the leader of the party in the sense that he has high popularity among the Republican base, and that’s what you saw last night. You saw a big turnout,” said Portman.

Trump spoke at a rally in Wellington, Ohio, on Saturday in front of thousands, where he boosted fraudulent claims about the 2020 election. He also called Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez – one of the few Republicans who voted in favor to impeach him after the Capitol insurrection – a “disgrace.”

Portman said the focus of the Republican party and Trump should be on obtaining the majority in the House and Senate.

“Let’s focus on the policies that worked and also on what’s not working now,” Portman continued. “So that’s what I would focus on and not the other stuff.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump mocks army generals who care more about being ‘woke’ than ‘fighting enemies’

Trump at Ohio rally
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, on on June 26, 2021.

  • Trump said military leaders were more concerned about being “woke” than “fighting enemies.”
  • In his first rally post-White House, Trump branded military leaders as “weak and ineffective.”
  • His comments come after top military officials voiced their support for critical race theory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Donald Trump mocked “woke” military generals and critical race theory on Saturday as he addressed thousands of supporters at this first post-White House rally in Wellington, Ohio.

The former president accused the country’s “weak and ineffective” military of becoming more concerned about being politically correct than they are about “fighting their enemies,” the Telegraph reported.

“The Biden administration issued new rules pushing twisted critical race theory … into our military,” Trump said, according to the Telegraph. “Our generals and our admirals are now focused more on this nonsense than they are on our enemies.”

Read more: How Trump could use his relationship with Putin and Russia to skirt prosecution back in the USA

“You see these generals lately on television? They are woke,” he continued. “Our military will be incapable of fighting and incapable of taking orders.”

Trump’s comments come in the same week the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Mark Milley, defended the study of critical race theory in the military, saying he wanted to “understand white rage,” the Guardian reported.

“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military … of being ‘woke’ or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there,” Miley told the House armed service committee on Thursday, according to the Guardian. During the remarks, was joined by the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin.

Critical race theory is an academic field that seeks to understand systemic racial prejudice and combat it.

In recent weeks, it has become a lightning-rod issue for some conservatives, who claim that it is divisive and presents a distorted picture of American history.

Trump made an appearance at Saturday night’s rally to show support for Max Miller, his former aide who is now challenging Republican incumbent Anthony Gonzalez in Ohio’s 16th congressional district.

He also used the opportunity to bash President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, hint at his 2024 presidential run, and to (once more) criticize the Supreme Court for not supporting his claims of election fraud.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump blasts GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who voted for impeachment, as ‘a grandstanding RINO’ and ‘a disgrace’ to Ohio

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio on June 26, 2021.

  • Trump blasted GOP. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez for his impeachment vote following the Jan. 6 riot.
  • The former president gave a speech in support of Max Miller, a former White House aide running against the congressman.
  • Trump derided Gonzalez as “the candidate of Liz Cheney.”
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

When the House impeached former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, 10 Republicans crossed over to join Democrats in the highly consequential vote.

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, a two-term lawmaker who represents a conservative Midwestern district, was one of those Republicans.

Trump has not forgotten about the vote.

The former president, who held a rally in Wellington, Ohio, not far from Cleveland, has already backed former White House aide Max Miller in the GOP primary over Gonzalez in the state’s 16th Congressional district.

On Saturday, Trump made it clear that he was willing to go all-out for Miller as he seeks political vengeance against party members that he deems as “RINOs,” or Republicans in name only, a pejorative generally reserved for members of the party who aren’t considered to be true conservatives.

The former president laced into Gonzalez, a 36-year-old congressman and ally of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, another Republican who backed Trump’s second impeachment and who was stripped of her leadership role for vocally fighting back against his false election claims.

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

Trump called Gonzalez “a grandstanding RINO” who’s “not respected in DC” and rebuked the congressman’s vote for what he calls “the unhinged, unconstitutional illegal impeachment witch hunt.”

“I didn’t get to know him too well,” the former president said of Gonzalez, accusing the congressman of repeatedly asking to fly on Air Force One during his presidency.

“I put him on the plane [Air Force One]. The next time I heard his name, he was impeaching me!” Trump said. “He’s a sellout, he’s a fake Republican and a disgrace to your state. He’s not the candidate that you want representing the Republican Party. … Every single Republican needs to vote him out of office.”

Trump derided Gonzalez as “the candidate of Liz Cheney.”

Before Cheney was removed from her leadership post as Conference Chair, Gonzalez told The Hill in April that if House Republicans couldn’t accept her honesty, then she wasn’t the most suitable person for the role.

“If a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit,” he said at the time. “Liz isn’t going to lie to people. Liz is going to say what she believes. She’s going to stand on principle. And if that’s going to be distracting for folks, she’s not the best fit. I wish that weren’t the case.”

In the end, Trump’s loyalists continue to run the House GOP apparatus, which continues to give the former president the upper hand within the party.

“After he voted for impeachment, the Ohio GOP censured Gonzalez and demanded that he resign and resign immediately,” the former president said on Saturday. “He’s still hanging in there. Every single Republican needs to vote him out of office.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

25 GOP-led states and one Democratic state are cutting $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits. Here are the 26 states making the cut this summer.

GettyImages 1231114054
President Joe Biden.

  • Some Republican governors have decided Americans make too much from expanded unemployment benefits.
  • After a surprisingly dismal April jobs report, they moved to end federal jobless aid early.
  • That also includes eliminating programs benefiting gig workers, freelancers, and the long-term unemployed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Alabama

kay ivey
Gov. Kay Ivey.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Monday that the state was halting its participation in federal unemployment benefits starting June 19. 

Those include the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program for gig workers and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for the long-term unemployed.

“We have announced the end date of our state of emergency, there are no industry shutdowns, and daycares are operating with no restrictions. Vaccinations are available for all adults. Alabama is giving the federal government our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work,” Ivey said in a press release.

Alabama is also resuming its work-search requirements for recipients, which had been paused throughout the pandemic.

The average weekly benefit in Alabama amounted to $283 in March. Its unemployment rate stands at 3.8%, higher than the 2.8% it had in February 2020.

Alabama is among the seven states that have not raised the hourly minimum wage for workers since the hike to $7.25 in 2009

Experts say other factors are keeping workers from jumping back into the labor force, such as a lack of childcare access and fear of COVID-19 infection.

Alaska

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy
Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Alaska will end its participation in the extra $300 in weekly benefits effective June 12. 

“As Alaska’s economy opens up, employers are posting a wide range of job opportunities and workers are needed,” labor and workforce development commissioner, Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, said in a statement.

Extensions for the state benefit will continue through September 6. 

Alaska’s unemployment rate was 6.6% in March 2021, a 0.8% increase from the rate of 5.8% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $298.

Arizona

Doug Ducey Arizona governor
Gov. Doug Ducey.

Gov. Doug Ducey said the state will terminate all federal jobless benefit programs on July 10, per a news release from his office.

Arizona, however, is setting aside some federal funds to provide a one-time $2,000 bonus for people who return to work by Sept. 6. There are some strings attached.

People qualify for the measure if they are already receiving jobless aid — and they must earn less than $25 hourly at their next job. That amounts to a yearly salary of $52,000. Individuals must also work 10 weeks with a new employer to get the cash.

The state last recorded an unemployment rate of 6.7%, higher than the 4.9% it had immediately before the pandemic in February 2020.

Arizona’s average jobless payout is $238.

Arkansas

Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on May 7 that the state would no longer participate in federal unemployment after June 26. 

“The $300 federal supplement helped thousands of Arkansans make it through this tough time, so it served a good purpose. Now we need Arkansans back on the job so that we can get our economy back to full speed,” Hutchinson said in a press release, which cited South Carolina’s and Montana’s separate decisions to opt out of the federal assistance program.

Its unemployment rate is 4.4%, slightly higher than the 3.8% level of February 2020. The average weekly benefit in the state is $248.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, 74.7% of the UI Arkansas disbursed came from federal funds, according to a report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. On January 1 of this year, Arkansas’s minimum wage increased to $11 — several dollars above the federal rate of $7.25.

Florida

ron desantis florida vaccine 60 minutes
Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida will end its participation in the $300 in additional weekly benefits effective June 26. However, other federal programs, including PUA, “will continue for the time being as DEO [Department of Economic Opportunity] continues to carefully monitor job posting and industry hiring trends.”

In a press release, DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said “transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce.” Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in March 2021, 1.9% higher than 2.8% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $235.22.

Georgia

brian kemp
Gov. Brian Kemp.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday that the state will end its participation in federal unemployment benefit programs effective June 26.

“Even in the middle of a global pandemic, job growth and economic development in Georgia remained strong — including an unemployment rate below the national average,” Kemp said in a statement. “To build on our momentum, accelerate a full economic recovery, and get more Georgians back to work in good-paying jobs, our state will end its participation in the federal COVID-19 unemployment programs, effective June 26th.”

The Georgia unemployment rate was 4.5% in March 2021, 1% above the February 2020 rate of 3.5%. The state’s average weekly benefit is $278.95.

Idaho

Gov. Brad Little
Gov. Brad Little.

Gov. Brad Little said Idaho would no longer draw federal money to fund enhanced unemployment insurance, and the state will cancel its program on June 19.

It’s time to get back to work,” Little said in a Tuesday statement. “My decision is based on a fundamental conservative principle — we do not want people on unemployment. We want people working.”

The state was among those that recently reimposed a job-seeking requirement for people receiving jobless aid.

Idaho’s unemployment rate stands at 3.2%, a higher level compared to 2.6% in February 2020. The average weekly unemployment benefit in the state is $355, per the Labor Department.

Indiana

GettyImages eric holcomb
Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state is terminating all federal unemployment programs effective June 19.

“There are help wanted signs posted all over Indiana, and while our economy took a hit last year, it is roaring like an Indy 500 race car engine now,” Holcomb said in the news release. “I am hearing from multiple sector employers that they want and need to hire more Hoosiers to grow.”

The state is also among those now requiring people to actively seek work while on unemployment.

Indiana’s unemployment rate is 3.9%, higher than the 3.2% it had in February 2020. The average weekly benefit is $254.

Iowa

kim reynolds iowa
Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state would cancel federal jobless benefits on June 12.

“Federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs initially provided displaced Iowans with crucial assistance when the pandemic began,” Reynolds said in a statement. “But now that our businesses and schools have reopened, these payments are discouraging people from returning to work.”

The state’s unemployment rate stood at 3.7%, still slightly higher than the 2.9% it recorded in February 2020. Iowa’s average weekly jobless benefit is $430.

Louisiana

john bel edwards
Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Louisiana is the first Democrat-led state to prematurely cut off its participation in $300 weekly benefits. Those benefits will end July 31.

Last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill that would increase the state’s regular weekly benefits by $28. One of the bill’s stipulations was that supplemental unemployment benefits had to end on July 31.

Local news outlet WWLTV reported that, prior to the bill’s passage, the governor had already said he planned on ending benefits in early August, when school begins.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 7.1% in May 2021, nearly two points higher than 5.2% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $175.57.

Maryland

larry hogan
Gov. Larry Hogan.

Maryland will end its participation in all federal unemployment programs effective July 3.

Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement that the state has vaccinated 70% of its adults, hitting the goal set by President Joe Biden, and that Maryland’s “health and economic recovery continues to outpace the nation.”

“While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply,” Hogan said. “And we have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe worker shortages.”

Maryland’s unemployment rate was 6.2% in April 2021, nearly three points higher than 3.3% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $318.16.

Mississippi

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves
Gov. Tate Reeves.

Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Monday that he was pulling out the state from the federal pandemic-aid programs starting June 12.

“It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled,” Reeves wrote on Twitter.

The average weekly benefit in the state is $195, according to the Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor.

The state’s unemployment rate is 6.3%, a figure still elevated from its pre-pandemic rate of 5.8% in February 2020.

Mississippi is among the seven states that have not lifted hourly pay for workers since the last increase to the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

Missouri

missouri gov mike parson
Gov. Mike Parson.

Gov. Mike Parson announced on Tuesday that Missouri would be ending its participation in federal unemployment on June 12. 

“While these benefits provided supplementary financial assistance during the height of COVID-19, they were intended to be temporary, and their continuation has instead worsened the workforce issues we are facing,” Parson said in a statement. “It’s time that we end these programs that have ultimately incentivized people to stay out of the workforce.” 

The average weekly benefit in Missouri amounted to $258.57 in March. Its unemployment rate stood at 4.2% in March, a drop from 4.3% in February. That’s still 0.5% higher than the March 2020 unemployment rate.

Missouri raised its minimum wage to $10.30 on January 1, 2021.

Montana

greg gianforte
Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Gov. Greg Gianforte announced the state was ending federal benefits on June 27.

“Incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good,” Gianforte said in a statement. “We need to incentivize Montanans to reenter the workforce.”

Taking its place will be a $1,200 return-to-work bonus, an amount equivalent to four weeks of receiving federal jobless aid. Workers will be eligible for the cash after a month on the job. The measure enjoys support among some congressional Republicans.

The average weekly benefit in the state is $468 without the federal supplement. The state’s unemployment rate has reached pre-pandemic levels, at 3.8% in April.

Nebraska

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Nebraska will end its participation in all federal unemployment programs effective June 19.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Gov. Pete Ricketts said the benefits are a “disincentive for some people” in returning to work. The curtailing of benefits come as part of the state’s initiative to reopen and “return to normalcy.”

Nebraska’s unemployment rate was 2.8% in April 2021, lower than 2.9% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $343.25.

New Hampshire

chris sununu
Gov. Chris Sununu.

Gov. Chris Sununu said on Thursday that he was planning on ending the additional $300 weekly benefit before it’s due to expire, NECN reports. However, the date that benefits will be discontinued in the state remains unclear.

The state will also begin work search requirements for those on UI beginning May 23.

The New Hampshire unemployment rate was 3.0% in March 2021, above the February 2020 rate of 2.6%. The state’s average weekly benefit is $277.26.

North Dakota

doug burgum north dakota trans school sports bill
Gov. Doug Burgum.

Gov. Doug Burgum said the state would pull out of federal unemployment benefit programs on June 19.

“Safe, effective vaccines have been available to every adult in North Dakota for months now, and we have an abundance of job openings with employers who are eager to hire,” Burgum said in a news release, noting the state had its highest number of online job postings since July 2015.

The state’s unemployment rate is 4.4%, still almost double its level of 2.3% in February 2020. North Dakota’s average weekly unemployment payment is $480.

Ohio

Mike-DeWine-2019
Gov. Mike DeWine.

Gov. Mike Dewine said the state will scrap the federal unemployment benefit programs on June 26.

“This assistance was always intended to be temporary,” DeWine said in a statement.

The state’s unemployment rate stands at 4.7%, the same level it had in February 2020. The average weekly benefit in Ohio is $383.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt
Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Gov. Kevin Stitt is dropping all federal unemployment programs starting on June 26.

“That gives people six weeks to get off the sidelines and get back into the game,” he said in a news release.

Stitt also announced that the first 20,000 laid-off workers now receiving benefits that are rehired will get a $1,200 “incentive using funds from the American Rescue Plan.”

People are eligible if they receive some form of federal unemployment aid between May 2 through 15, and keep their new job for at least six weeks. Individuals must also have a 32-hour workweek.

The Oklahoma unemployment rate stands at 5.2%, higher than the 3.1% it had before the pandemic broke out in February last year. The average weekly benefit is $310.

South Carolina

henry mcmaster
Gov. Henry McMaster.

Even before the jobs report hit, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said the state would stop its participation in federal unemployment effective June 30.

“This labor shortage is being created in large part by the supplemental unemployment payments that the federal government provides claimants on top of their state unemployment benefits,” McMaster wrote in a letter to the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce.

McMaster spoke with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson about the expanded unemployment program, saying he believed it’s a “counterproductive policy.”

The average weekly benefit in the state stands at $228. South Carolina’s unemployment rate is 5.1%, still nearly double its pre-pandemic rate of 2.8% in February 2020.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, 76.7% of the unemployment insurance that South Carolina disbursed came from federal funds, according to the report from the Economic Policy Institute. The minimum wage in South Carolina was last raised in 2009, when the federal minimum wage as a whole was increased to $7.25.

South Dakota

Kristi Noem
Gov. Kristi Noem.

Gov. Kristi Noem announced Wednesday that the state will end its participation in federal unemployment benefit programs effective the week of June 26. In a related statement, the state’s Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman noted that “help wanted signs line our streets.”

“South Dakota is, and has been, ‘Open for Business.’ Ending these programs is a necessary step towards recovery, growth, and getting people back to work,” Hultman added.

The South Dakota unemployment rate was 2.9% in March 2021, unchanged from 2.9% in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $369.

Tennessee

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
Gov. Bill Lee.

Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday that federal unemployment benefits would end in the state effective July 3.

“We will no longer participate in federal pandemic unemployment programs because Tennesseans have access to more than 250,000 jobs in our state,” Lee said in a statement. “Families, businesses and our economy thrive when we focus on meaningful employment and move on from short-term, federal fixes.”

The state’s unemployment rate in March 2021 was 5%, a 0.1% increase from the month before and 1% higher than the March 2020 rate. Tennessee’s average weekly unemployment payment is $219.45. Tennessee is one of seven states where the minimum wage remains at the federal level of $7.25.

Texas

greg abbott texas
Gov. Greg Abbott.

Gov. Greg Abbott said he was scrapping all federal unemployment programs on June 26.

“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” Abbott said in a statement.

Nearly 1.3 million people in the state will experience a sharp cut in their unemployment aid, per an estimate from Andrew Stettner at the liberal-leaning Century Foundation. It’s the largest state yet to eliminate the programs, with the eliminated aid coming to an estimated $8.8 billion.

The average weekly benefit in Texas is $405. The state’s current 6.9% unemployment rate is still nearly double what it used to be in February 2020.

Utah

AP spencer cox
Gov. Spencer Cox.

Utah is withdrawing from federal unemployment aid programs effective June 26.

“This is the natural next step in getting the state and people’s lives back to normal,” Gov. Spencer Cox said in a statement. “The market should not be competing with the government for workers.”

The state has a 2.9% unemployment rate, slightly higher than the 2.5% pre-pandemic level in February 2020. The average weekly benefit in Utah is $428.

West Virginia

WV Gov Jim Justice
Gov. Jim Justice.

West Virginia will end its participation in federal unemployment benefit programs effective June 19 at midnight.

“We need everyone back to work,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement. “Our small businesses and West Virginia’s economy depend on it.”

West Virginia’s unemployment rate was 5.9% in March 2021, 1% above the February 2020 rate of 4.9%. The state’s average weekly benefit is $276.15.

Wyoming

mark gordon
Gov. Mark Gordon.

Gov. Mark Gordon said the state was scrapping the federal unemployment benefit, along with programs aiding gig workers and those who exhausted traditional state payouts.

“Wyoming needs workers, our businesses are raring to go,” Gordon said in a statement. “People want to work, and work is available. Incentivizing people not to work is just plain un-American.”

The Wyoming unemployment rate is 5.3%, slightly higher than the 4.8% it once had in February 2020. The state’s average weekly benefit is $430.

Are you unemployed and have a story you want to share? Contact these reporters at jkaplan@insider.com and jzeballos@insider.com.

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A doctor-turned-conspiracy theorist falsely claimed at an Ohio hearing the COVID-19 vaccine will turn you into a magnet

Sherry Tenpenny
Sherri Tenpenny.

  • Sherri Tenpenny, a doctor and author of “Saying No to Vaccines,” spoke at an Ohio Statehouse hearing on Tuesday.
  • During the hearing, she spread false theories about the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Tenpenny, who was invited by Republicans, falsely said the vaccine could make people “magnetized.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A licensed doctor and known conspiracy theorist spread false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine during an Ohio Statehouse hearing this week.

Sherri Tenpenny, author of “Saying No to Vaccines,” was invited to speak at a House Health Committee hearing by Republican lawmakers, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

But during the hearing, she falsely said the COVID-19 vaccine could make people “magnetized,” and falsely said doses include particles that can connect with 5G wireless technology.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized,” Tenpenny, of Middleburg Heights in Cuyahoga County, said. “You can put a key on their forehead, it sticks. You can put spoons and forks all over and they can stick because now we think there is a metal piece to that.”

Tenpenny made those comments during a hearing on House Bill 248, legislation that would block vaccine requirements in schools and other locations.

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Ohio reveals the first winners in its $1 million lottery for people who get vaccinated against COVID-19

powerball lottery lotto balls numbers
  • Ohio announced the first two winners of its coronavirus vaccine lottery on Wednesday.
  • One adult will receive $1 million, and one student will get a full scholarship for college.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

One Ohio resident is now $1 million richer after the state on Wednesday announced the first winners of its coronavirus vaccine lottery.

Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton, near Cincinnati, was the first winner announced in the “Vax-a-Million” initiative earlier this month to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

The state also awarded a college scholarship to Joseph Costello from Englewood, near Dayton.

Both were chosen by a random number generator on Monday, WLWT reported, and will need to provide proof they were vaccinated.

On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said more than 2.7 million residents had entered the lottery, which is only open to those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The state is giving away a total of $5 million, along with five full-ride scholarships to any state college or university, room-and-board included.

The next winners will be announced June 2.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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An ethicist explains how vaccine incentive programs can help save lives without crossing ethical lines

covid vaccine
Vaccine incentives could be a way to sway those who are on the fence.

  • Cash incentives for vaccination may increase the numbers, but it could increase skepticism, too.
  • Some ethicists have raised concerns that incentives could be wrong, citing fairness and equity issues.
  • Other measures, like tax deductions and credits, could be low-cost ways for states to encourage vaccinations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A financial shot in the arm could be just what is needed for Americans unsure about vaccination.

On May 12, 2021, the Republican governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, announced five $1 million lottery prizes for those who are vaccinated. Meanwhile, in West Virginia, younger citizens are being enticed to get the shot with $100 savings bonds, and a state university in North Carolina is offering students who get vaccinated a chance to win the cost of housing. Many companies are paying vaccinated employees more money through bonuses or extra paid time off.

The push to get as many people vaccinated as possible is laudable and may well work. But leading behavioral scientists are worried that paying people to vaccinate could backfire if it makes people more skeptical of the shots. And ethicists have argued that it would be wrong, citing concerns over fairness and equity.

Read more: I bought a house sight unseen and moved my family from California to Missouri. As a first-time buyer, it was the best decision I could’ve made.

As a behavioral scientist and ethicist, I draw on an extensive body of research to help answer these questions. It suggests that incentives might work to save lives and, if properly structured, need not trample individual rights or be a huge expense for the government.

In the United States, incentives and disincentives are already used in health care. The US system of privatized health insurance exposes patients to substantial deductibles and copays, not only to cover costs but to cut down on what could be deemed as wasteful health care – the thinking being that putting a cost to an emergency room visit, for example, might deter those who aren’t really in need of that level of care.

In practice, this means patients are encouraged to decline both emergency and more routine care, since both are exposed to costs.

Paying for health behaviors

In the case of COVID-19, the vaccines are already free to consumers, which has undoubtedly encouraged people to be immunized. Studies have shown that reducing out-of-pocket costs can improve adherence to life-sustaining drugs, whether to prevent heart attacks or to manage diabetes.

A payment to take a drug goes one step further than simply reducing costs. And if properly designed, such incentives can change health behaviors.

Payments and cash prizes have been shown effective in encouraging blood donations, adherence to blood thinner drugs, blood glucose monitoring, physical activity, and smoking cessation.

And for vaccination in particular, payments have been successful for human papillomavirus (HPV) in England; hepatitis B in the United States and the United Kingdom; and tetanus toxoid in Nigeria. The effects can be substantial: For example, for one group in the HPV study, the vaccination rate more than doubled with an incentive.

For COVID-19, there are no field studies to date, but several survey experiments, including one my group conducted with 1,000 Americans, find that incentives are likely to work. In our case, the incentive of a tax break was enough to encourage those hesitant about vaccinations to say they would take the shot.

Coercion concerns

Even if incentives will save lives by increasing vaccinations, there are still other ethical considerations. A key concern is protecting the autonomous choices of people to decide what they put into their own bodies. This may be especially important for the COVID-19 vaccines, which – although authorized as likely safe and effective – are not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

But already people are often paid to participate in clinical trials for drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA. Ethicists have worried that such payments may be “coercive” if the money is so attractive as to override a person’s free choices or make them worse off overall.

One can quibble about whether the term “coercion” applies to offers of payment. But even if offers were coercive, payments may still be reasonable to save lives in a pandemic if they succeed in greater levels of immunization.

During the smallpox epidemic nearly 100 years ago, the US Supreme Court upheld the power of states to mandate vaccines. Compared with mandating vaccination, the incentives to encourage vaccines seem innocuous.

Exploitation and paternalism

Yet some still worry. Bioethicists Emily Largent and Franklin Miller wrote in a recent paper that a payment might “unfairly” exploit “those US residents who have lost jobs … or slipped into poverty during the pandemic,” which could leave them feeling as if they have “no choice but to be vaccinated for cash.” Others have noted that vaccine hesitancy is higher in nonwhite communities, where incomes tend to be lower, as is trust in the medical establishment.

Ethicists and policymakers should indeed focus on the poorest members of our community and seek to minimize racial disparities in both health outcomes and wealth. But there is no evidence that offering money is actually detrimental to such populations. Receiving money is a good thing. To suggest that we have to protect adults by denying them offers of money may come across as paternalism.

Some ethicists also argue that the money is better spent elsewhere to increase participation. States could spend the money making sure vaccines are convenient to everyone, for example, by bringing them to community events and churches. Money could also support various efforts to fight misinformation and communicate the importance of getting the shot.

The cost of incentives

Financial incentives could be expensive as a policy solution. As in Ohio, lottery drawings are one way to cap the overall cost of incentives while giving millions of people an additional reason to get their shot.

The tax code could also allow for a no-cost incentive for vaccination. Tax deductions and credits are often designed to encourage behaviors, such as savings or home ownership. Some states now have big budget surpluses and are considering tax relief measures. If a state announced now that such payments would be conditional on being vaccinated, then each person declining the shot would save the government money.

Ultimately, a well-designed vaccination incentive can help save lives and need not keep the ethicists up at night.

Christopher Robertson, professor of law, Boston University

The Conversation
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