West Virginia is organizing a gun giveaway to convince people to get their COVID jabs

guns
A total of ten guns will be given away through a series of lucky draws organized by the state of West Virginia, in a bid to get more of its residents vaccinated.

  • West Virginia is giving away guns in a lottery to incentivize people to get their COVID shots.
  • Five hunting rifles and five shotguns will be given away through a series of lucky draws.
  • Million-dollar jackpots and college scholarships were offered by other states as vaccine incentives.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

West Virginia is giving away guns to incentivize more people to get the COVID vaccine.

Five hunting rifles and five custom shotguns are among the numerous prizes that the state is rolling out as part of its drive to get more jabs into its residents’ arms. The guns will be given away in multiple lucky draws, the first of which will be held on Father’s Day on June 20.

The state is also offering a $1 million cash prize during its Father’s Day draw, which coincides with the state’s 158th birthday. Also up for grabs are two full, four-year scholarships that students aged 12 to 25 can win.

The initiative was announced by Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday, who said that residents need only get their first COVID vaccine to enter the draw. Those who have already received their vaccines are also eligible.

“You could win something that would be phenomenal,” Justice said.

West Virginia joins the ranks of other states and organizations giving away freebies to motivate people to get their COVID vaccines. States like Ohio and Maryland have also rolled out million-dollar lotteries for vaccinated residents. Meanwhile, New York on May 26 offered 50 teens full college scholarships to get the COVID shot.

An April poll by the Morning Consult pegged West Virginia as one of the most vaccine-hesitant states in the country, as 28% of West Virginians polled said they were unwilling to get the COVID jab.

According to the New York Times vaccine tracker, around 41% of the US’s population is fully inoculated. The Times reported as well that around 34% of West Virginia’s residents had received their second dose of the vaccine, while 41 received their first COVID shot.

A compilation of public health data from the Centers for Disease Control’s WONDER database noted that West Virginia has the eighth-highest rate of gun violence in the US. The state logged a yearly average of 320 deaths and 760 gun-related injuries from 2015 to 2019. It also has the fourth-highest rate of gun-related suicides and suicide attempts, with an average of around 235 gun-related suicides each year.

The rate of gun deaths in West Virginia is the 13th-highest in the country and increased 18% between 2010 to 2019.

West Virginia, with its population of around 1.8 million, ranks in the middle in terms of COVID deaths per 100,000 residents.

Thus far, state health authorities have logged a total of 161,858 cases and 2,797 COVID deaths, while the US has recorded over 33 million COVID cases and more than 594,000 deaths during the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is reportedly on the hook for $700 million in loans from collapsed lender Greensill

WV Gov Jim Justice
Jim Justice has been governor of West Virginia since 2017.

  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is reportedly on the hook for $700 million in loans from Greensill, the collapsed financial firm.
  • Justice personally guaranteed loans Greensill made to his coal companies, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Credit Suisse is trying to claw back cash for people who invested in its Greensill-linked funds.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is personally liable for around $700 million in loans that the collapsed financial firm Greensill Capital made to his coal companies, according to a report.

Justice and his wife guaranteed the loans from Greensill to his coal businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the issue and documents.

Greensill, which collapsed into bankruptcy in March, had packaged the loans and sold them to Credit Suisse, The Journal reported. Now, Credit Suisse is in talks with Justice’s Bluestone Resources and other major borrowers from Greensill to recoup the money and repay investors, per The Journal.

The Swiss bank told investors in a recent notice that Bluestone owes nearly $700 million, the WSJ reported.

Bluestone said in a lawsuit brought in March that it had not expected to start repaying the loans until at least 2023.

The personal liability of Justice, who has been governor of West Virginia since 2017 and is a Republican, adds to his financial pressures. Forbes knocked the politician and businessman off its billionaires list earlier this year, due in large part to Greensill’s collapse.

Justice’s companies are also in legal disputes with other companies over payment contracts and coal deliveries, The Journal reported said. They have settled a number of disputes in recent years over alleged non-payment of bills, according to news outlet ProPublica.

Bluestone, Credit Suisse, and a representative for Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Bluestone and Justice’s representatives declined to comment to The Journal.

As well as the guarantees from the governor and his wife, Justice’s son James C. Justice III guaranteed loans up to a certain limit, The Journal reported.

The collapse of Greensill has heaped pressure on Credit Suisse, which is frantically trying to recoup its losses. It said in April that it was focused on three main borrowers: Bluestone, British-Indian steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, and SoftBank-backed construction company Katerra.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP-led states are cutting $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits. Here are the 24 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 jobs report, they’re moving 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.

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP-led states are cutting $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits. Here are the 23 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 jobs report, they’re moving 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.

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.

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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West Virginia had the largest population drop in the US from 2010 to 2020, the census shows

West Virginia
A lake in Bluefield, West Virginia.

  • West Virginia lost a higher percentage of its population than any other US state, per the census.
  • The lack of economic opportunity and low pay are two factors in the state’s population decline.
  • The poverty rate in West Virginia is 16%, higher than the national average.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

From 2010 to 2020, West Virginia lost a higher percentage of its population than any other US state, according to new data from the US Census Bureau.

In 2010, the population of the Mountain State stood at 1.85 million, but by 2020, that number had declined to 1.79 million people.

The population loss of 3.2%, or roughly 59,000 people, made the state one of only seven others across the country that are set to lose a congressional district following the 2020 Census.

According to the Associated Press, some of the main reasons cited for West Virginia’s population loss are a lack of economic opportunity, low pay, the state’s political climate, and poor cell phone and internet service.

Read more: Exclusive: Secretary Pete takes viewers inside the DOT in the Biden administration’s weekly address as he sells the American Jobs Plan

The poverty rate in West Virginia is 16%, which is higher than the national average.

In 2019, the national poverty rate was 10.5%, according to the Census Bureau.

The Census data revealed that from 2015 to 2019, only 76% of the state’s households had broadband internet subscriptions.

In an attempt to stem further population losses, West Virginia officials are targeting remote workers who move to the state with $12,000 incentives, along with complimentary passes for recreational destinations including whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and horseback riding.

The state hopes to capitalize on the appeal of its ruggedness and open spaces in reversing its population losses.

“We want to give folks the opportunity to escape big cities,” state tourism cabinet secretary Chelsea Ruby told the Associated Press last month. “In West Virginia, there are no crowded places, long commutes or traffic jams. There’s just plenty of places to put down roots and explore the great outdoors.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The White House offers to cut infrastructure plan down to $1.7 trillion

amtrak joe biden
President Joe Biden.

  • The White House presented a $1.7 trillion infrastructure counteroffer to Republicans.
  • It slashes the $2.25 trillion price tag substantially and reduces funding for roads and bridges.
  • The counteroffer came after a GOP group did not meet a Tuesday deadline to bring a new offer.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden has offered to cut down the cost of his infrastructure plan – the American Jobs Plan – from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion, presenting a counteroffer to Republicans on Friday.

The offer did not address the $1.7 trillion American Families Plan, which is largely focused on care-economy measures, so the initial $4.1 trillion combination of packages would now come to about $3.2 trillion.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that officials including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo offered up the reduced package.

“In our view, this is the art of seeking common ground,” Psaki said.

Psaki said that proposed funding for broadband was reduced to match that of Republicans, and proposed funding for roads, bridges, and major projects was also reduced to be more in line with senators’ proposals. Investments in research and development, supply chains, manufacturing, and small businesses will be shifted into different legislative pushes.

But the White House said it would continue to push for funding for critical transportation infrastructure, especially railways.

Psaki also said the White House planned to reiterate the president’s unwillingness to raise taxes on Americans making under $400,000, such as through a gas tax and user fees.

“He believes that the extraordinarily wealthy, that companies – many of whom have not paid taxes in recent years – can afford a modest increase to pay for middle-class jobs,” Psaki said.

Republicans had previously offered a $568 billion counteroffer to the White House, well below the $2.25 trillion originally proposed and still substantially lower than the new counteroffer. It would preserve Trump-era tax cuts, which are directly countered in Biden’s proposed funding.

After the GOP group met with Biden last week to discuss its $568 billion counterproposal, Biden gave them a Tuesday deadline to bring him a new plan to negotiate, but that never happened.

Instead, the group met with Buttigieg and Raimondo, and a new plan wasn’t introduced, with the senator from West Virginia who led the Republican plan, Shelley Moore Capito, telling reporters after the meeting that there was “progress, but we still got a ways to go.”

“I think they’re digesting what we proposed, and I think the plan is for them to react to that,” Capito added.

Capito’s office said in a statement to Insider that Friday’s White House offer was “well above the range of what can pass Congress with bipartisan support” and that Republicans and the White House still differed on what’s considered infrastructure, how much should be spent on it, and where that money should come from.

“Based on today’s meeting, the groups seem further apart after two meetings with White House staff than they were after one meeting with President Biden,” Capito’s office said. “Senate Republicans will further review the details in today’s counteroffer and continue to engage in conversations with the administration.”

Separately this week, Capito also floated using unused unemployment benefits to fund infrastructure after April’s weak jobs report, which caused a growing number of GOP-led states to end Biden’s weekly $300 unemployment benefits early.

The White House’s counteroffer comes as Democrats are increasingly calling on Biden to ditch negotiations with Republicans and act big on infrastructure legislation.

Psaki said the negotiations were an art of a “different kind of a deal – a deal for the working people.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP-led states are cutting $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits. Here are the 19 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 jobs report, they’re moving 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

West Virginia is offering remote workers $12,000 in cash if they relocate for 2 years

West Virginia river tubing
Three women float down the Potomac River by way of rafts in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

  • West Virginia is launching a new program aimed at luring remote workers to the state.
  • Called Ascend WV, the program offers $12,000 cash and other benefits to workers who relocate.
  • Some major companies, like Twitter and Ford, have already said employees may work from home forever.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

West Virginia is hoping to lure remote workers to the Mountain State with the promise of $12,000 and a year’s worth of free outdoor activities.

The state tourism office on Tuesday announced a new program called Ascend WV aimed enticing those who work from home to move to West Virginia. Ascend WV will provide relocation packages to incoming residents, starting with 50 slots for those interested in moving to Morgantown, home to West Virginia University. The program will eventually expand to more cities across the state.

The relocation package includes:

  • $12,000 cash
  • A year of free outdoor recreation including whitewater rafting, rock climbing, ziplining, ATV-ing, golfing, and skiing
  • Over $1,200 worth of free outdoor gear rentals
  • Free access to coworking spaces
  • Professional advancement through WVU, including access to the business school’s “entrepreneurship ecosystem” and the ability to obtain remote work certifications
  • Networking events with state business leaders
  • Social events to help incoming residents meet new people

Those who move will receive $10,000 paid in monthly installments for the first year and the additional $2,000 if they stay for a second year.

Read more: If you want to ask your boss to let you work from home forever, use this script

The program is funded by a $25 million donation from Intuit executive chairman Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys, to the Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative at WVU. The organization partnered with West Virginia’s department of tourism and department of economic development to create the program in six months.

Smith is a West Virginia native and said in a statement that he hopes the program will allow West Virginia to “capitalize on national workforce trends” by leveraging the state’s access to outdoor pursuits.

West Virginia is one of a handful of states hoping to entice remote workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Late last year, Tulsa, Oklahoma, announced a similar program that grants workers $10,000 to relocate to the city. And earlier this year, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez partnered with Softbank Capital to invest $100 million in making the city friendlier to tech startups hoping to relocate.

The efforts come as many major companies are reconsidering the future of work post-pandemic. Companies like Ford, Twitter, Dropbox, and Slack have said employees may work from home 100% of the time. Others, including Facebook, Microsoft, and Salesforce have announced policies that allow for some of their employees to work remotely while others will come into the office at least part of the time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Joe Manchin voted against including a $15 minimum wage provision in the relief bill, even though 250,000 West Virginians would benefit from the increase

joe manchin 20
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 14: Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks during a news conference with a bipartisan group of lawmakers as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill, on Monday, December 14, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders’ attempt to include a $15 minimum wage provision in the COVID-19 relief looks likely to fail.
  • Eight Democrats, including centrist Sen. Joe Manchin, voted against the legislation’s inclusion.
  • 250,000 workers in West Virginia, Manchin’s home state, could see a raise under a $15 minimum wage.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ attempts to include a $15 minimum wage provision in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill looks likely to fail on Friday in the Senate – with bipartisan opposition. 

Last week, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, the chamber’s official advisor on procedural matters, ruled the minimum wage hike could not stay in the massive coronavirus spending bill, arguing the provision’s effect on the federal budget was “merely incidental.” 

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, two of the party’s most moderate Democrats, had both voiced strong opposition to using budget reconciliation – a maneuver that allows the majority party to speed through high-priority fiscal legislation without support from the minority party – to pass the minimum wage hike, and following MacDonough’s decision, Manchin doubled down on his refusal to sidestep her ruling.

Still, Sanders and fellow progressives called on Democrats to ignore the parliamentarian’s decision and include the provision anyway, which would have required all 50 Democrats’ support plus Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.

The proposal was formerly known as the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 and would incrementally increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by the year 2025. 

But Friday’s vote revealed that even though Manchin had been the loudest Democratic critic to the increase, he was not the only member of the party to oppose the legislation.

Eight Democrats – Manchin, Sinema, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sen. Angus King of Maine, Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, and Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware – joined with all 50 Republicans to vote against the bill’s inclusion. 

Still, Manchin’s passionate and public hostility toward a minimum wage increase has drawn criticism from constituents and activists back home in West Virginia who support the proposed increase.

West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country

Even before COVID-19, West Virginia had the 6th highest poverty rate in the country, according to US Census Bureau data. An estimated 278,734 West Virginians – 16% of the population – lived in poverty in 2019, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

Data from the Economic Policy Institute indicates that a quarter of a million West Virginians, about 14% of the population in the state, would directly benefit from a $15 minimum wage. 

Those impacted workers would take home, on average, nearly $4,000 extra dollars each year, the economic policy institute estimated. The total annual wage increase for all affected West Virginia workers would be $987 million annually. 

During a February virtual meeting with West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign, a progressive group fighting for working-class residents in the state, Manchin reaffirmed his opposition. 

Though the meeting was closed to the media, attendees told reporters in an online press conference immediately afterward that Manchin “refused to budge,” according to The Guardian.

“I feel like he’s got his head in the clouds and he doesn’t understand what’s happening to poor people in West Virginia,” Brianna Griffith, a restaurant worker and rafting guide, told the outlet. 

 

Manchin says he’s worried about how the increase could hurt small businesses 

West Virginia’s current minimum wage is $8.75 an hour, more than a dollar above the federal minimum wage, but still much less than the $24 that would be in place had the federal minimum wage kept up with productivity growth, according to a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. 

But Manchin, along with other moderates and most conservatives, is worried that the incremental increase could end up doing more harm than help. 

A Congressional Budget Office report estimated the legislation, if passed, would increase the cumulative budget deficit by $54 billion in the next decade. Prices for goods and services would increase as a result of paying workers more and 1.4 million jobs would be lost, the report said.

But the CBO also estimates the hike would pull 900,000 workers out of poverty and pump $333 billion back into the economy.

Fight for 15 minimum wage protests
Several workers in the fight for $15 took their opposition to downtown New York’s McDonald during the lunchtime rush.

Others think the benefits of a hike would far outweigh potential negative impacts

The Economic Policy Institute conducted its own investigation into the possible outcomes of the increase and estimated that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would lift pay for nearly 32 million workers across the country – almost 21% of the US workforce. 

The raise would be particularly beneficial to people of color and women. Nearly a third of African-Americans and a quarter of Latinos would get a raise if the proposal was employed. Nearly 1 in 4 of those who directly benefited would be Black or Latino women, the study found. 

Sanders has been one of the longest and loudest supporters of the increase. Earlier this week, Sanders told reporters that even if Friday’s vote failed, he wouldn’t give up.

“But let me be very clear: If we fail in this legislation, I will be back. We’re going to keep going and, if it takes 10 votes, we’re going to raise that minimum wage very shortly.”

Manchin has signaled he’s willing to compromise on the issue

Manchin has publicly said he would support something “responsible and reasonable” when it comes to raising the federal minimum wage and has proposed a smaller increase of $11 an hour numerous times. 

Insider reached out to Sen. Manchin for comment but did not receive a response. 

Before the parliamentarian made her final decision, Manchin told reporters he would try to amend the bill to an increase to $11 an hour if she had ruled in favor of its inclusion. 

“We can do $11 in two years and be in a better position than they’re going to be with $15 in five years,” he told CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju last month. 

 

He argued the more gradual move would allow the party to compromise and successfully pass the stimulus package. But for progressive West Virginians back home, that may not be enough.

“You’re just frazzled,” Pam Garrison, a member of West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign told the Guardian after meeting with Manchin. “If you’ve never lived in poverty, you have no idea what it does to you.”  

Read the original article on Business Insider

Joe Manchin poses a threat to raising the minimum wage, even though 250,000 West Virginians would benefit from the increase

joe manchin 20
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 14: Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks during a news conference with a bipartisan group of lawmakers as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill, on Monday, December 14, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • Democrats are staging a final push to include minimum wage legislation in Biden’s stimulus plan.
  • But one of the party’s most conservative Senators, Joe Manchin has doubled down on his opposition.
  • 14% of workers in West Virginia, Manchin’s state, could see a raise if the legislation passes.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Congressional Democrats are scrambling to keep their $15 federal minimum wage proposal included in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan this week as they face an unlikely obstacle: centrist members of their own party.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, two of the party’s most moderate Democrats, have both said they are opposed to using budget reconciliation – a maneuver that allows the majority party to speed through high-priority fiscal legislation without support from the minority party – to pass the minimum wage hike.

The proposal was formerly known as the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 and would incrementally increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by the year 2025. 

Progressive members of the party, like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have signaled their confidence that the legislation will be included in Biden’s first COVID-19 stimulus package, but Manchin, in particular, has doubled down on his opposition in recent days. 

Now, the former governor of West Virginia is facing criticism from constituents and activists back home who support the proposed increase.

West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country

Even before COVID-19, West Virginia had the 6th highest poverty rate in the country, according to US Census Bureau data. An estimated 278,734 West Virginians – 16% of the population – lived in poverty in 2019, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

Data from the Economic Policy Institute indicates that a quarter of a million West Virginians, about 14% of workers in the state, would directly benefit from a $15 minimum wage. 

Those impacted workers would take home, on average, nearly $4,000 extra dollars each year, the economic policy institute estimated. The total annual wage increase for all affected West Virginia workers would be $987 million annually. 

Manchin reaffirmed his opposition last week at a virtual meeting with West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign, a progressive group fighting for working-class residents in the state.

Though the meeting was closed to the media, attendees told reporters in an online press conference immediately afterward that Manchin “refused to budge,” according to The Guardian.

“I feel like he’s got his head in the clouds and he doesn’t understand what’s happening to poor people in West Virginia,” Brianna Griffith, a restaurant worker and rafting guide told the outlet. 

 

Manchin says he’s worried about how the increase could hurt small businesses 

West Virginia’s current minimum wage is $8.75 an hour, more than a dollar above the federal minimum wage, but still much less than the $24 that would be in place had the federal minimum wage kept up with productivity growth, according to a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. 

But Manchin, along with other moderates and most conservatives, is worried that the incremental increase could end up doing more harm than help. 

A Congressional Budget Office report estimated the legislation, if passed, would increase the cumulative budget deficit by $54 billion in the next decade. Prices for goods and services would increase as a result of paying workers more and 1.4 million jobs would be lost, the report said.

But the CBO also estimates the hike would pull 900,000 workers out of poverty and pump $333 billion back into the economy.

Fight for 15 minimum wage protests
Several workers in the fight for $15 took their opposition to downtown New York’s McDonald during the lunchtime rush.

Others think the benefits of a hike would far outweigh potential negative impacts

The Economic Policy Institute conducted its own investigation into the possible outcomes of the increase and estimated that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would lift pay for nearly 32 million workers across the country – almost 21% of the US workforce. 

The raise would be particularly beneficial to people of color and women. Nearly a third of African-Americans and a quarter of Latinos would get a raise if the proposal was employed. Nearly 1 in 4 of those who directly benefited would be Black or Latino women, the study found. 

Sanders has ramped up his support for the legislation in recent days, arguing that the Congressional Budget Office’s report provided ample evidence that increasing the minimum wage would directly affect the federal budget – a requirement for any legislation passed through reconciliation. 

Lawmakers are now waiting for a final decision from the parliamentarian, the Senate’s official advisor on procedural matters, on whether or not the wage increase can be passed through reconciliation. Politico reported that Democrats and Republicans are both expected to meet with the parliamentarian Wednesday to make their separate cases and that her ruling could soon follow.

Elizabeth MacDonough has held the position of Senate parliamentarian since 2012, when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer appointed her to the position. She is only the sixth person to serve in the role since it was created in 1935. 

Even if MacDonough decides in favor of the Democrats, the party will still be faced with Manchin. In order to pass legislation through reconciliation, the party will need every single member plus tie-breaker Vice President Kamala Harris to vote in sync. 

Manchin has signaled he’s willing to compromise on the issue

Manchin has publicly said he would support something “responsible and reasonable” when it comes to raising the federal minimum wage and has proposed a smaller increase of $11 an hour numerous times. 

Insider reached out to Sen. Manchin for comment. 

The senator told CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju Monday evening that if the parliamentarian allows the wage hike to be passed by reconciliation, he will try to amend the legislation to $11 an hour.

“We can do $11 in two years and be in a better position than they’re going to be with $15 in five years,” he told Raju. 

 

He argued the move would allow the party to compromise and successfully pass the stimulus package. But for progressive West Virginians back home, that may not be enough.

“You’re just frazzled,” Pam Garrison, a member of West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign told the Guardian after meeting with Manchin. “If you’ve never lived in poverty, you have no idea what it does to you.”  

Read the original article on Business Insider