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Gianforte ends unemployment benefits, rewards return to work

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 5/5/21

The signs are apparent in business windows around Gallatin County: “Now hiring,” and “Workers needed.” Some restaurants have had to limit hours of operation due to the severe employee shortage following the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to alleviate this worker scarcity, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced this week that he is ending the $300 bonus for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic: $300 on top of regular unemployment benefits, allotted by the federal American Rescue Plan. Instead, Gianforte is offering a $1,200 bonus for anyone who returns to work.

“Montana is open for business again, but I hear from too many employers throughout our state who can’t find workers. Nearly every sector in our economy faces a labor shortage,” Gianforte said in a statement to Montana Free Press. “Incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. We need to incentivize Montanans to reenter the workforce.”

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