FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- “Help Wanted” signs spotted in downtown store-fronts.
“To have able-bodied people paid to sit at home is just counterproductive,” Randell Morrison said.
The Fort Wayne resident says plenty of businesses are hiring, but people don’t want to work for them.
“They are actually incentivized to stay at home or go to something besides work and that’s why nobody comes to apply. Or they come and apply just to get the heat off of their backs so they can go collect more unemployment,” he said.
Governor Eric Holcomb announced Monday that Indiana is dropping a federal program that provides $300 weekly to those on unemployment.
Holcomb signed an executive order last week that reinstates a requirement that those receiving unemployment benefits will again have to show they are actively searching for work as of June 1.
The Indiana Democratic Party argues the reason for the workforce shortage is low wages and minimal benefits, not unemployment insurance.
"We cannot ignore the reality that it's time for Indiana to increase its minimum wage and provide better opportunities for our workers. Over 892,000 Hoosiers currently earn a minimum wage job, and while it's a goal for every worker to achieve their highest potential, we must do everything possible to create a bridge to help all Hoosiers succeed.” Executive Director Lauren Ganapini said.
The unemployment rate in Indiana is currently 3.9 percent, a quarter of what it was at the height of the pandemic.
Business owners say they're were grateful for the COVID-19 relief programs, but now it’s time to rejoin the workforce.
“That means going back to the jobs and improving the economy that way. Because I know there are many small business owners who have been struggling,” Kanela Owner Flora Barron said.
She’s having trouble finding people who want to work full-time.
“I think many of them may want some benefits that we cannot offer right now, so we have mainly college students. We have six or seven students,” she said.
Kerry Bowley of Fort Wayne says it’s a double-edged sword.
“It was horrible that people couldn’t work during that whole time," Bowley adds. "What were we supposed to live on?”
Bowley says she’s grateful the benefits were there for those laid off during the pandemic.
Now, she says, it’s time to get back to work.
The changes are expected to take effect on June 19.