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Montana To End Extra Jobless Benefits Due to Worker Shortage



Typical american now hiring sign in black letters over the white background with local small business building | Montana To End Extra Jobless Benefits Due to Worker Shortage | featured

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte announced Tuesday that the state will opt out of federal unemployment benefits amid a worker shortage. Specifically, Montana will no longer take part in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. 

RELATED: Six Weeks Of Additional Unemployment Benefits Will Arrive Soon

Return to Work Bonus Due to Worker Shortage

By June 27, Montana will cease issuing supplemental $300 weekly PUA payments. In addition, the state government will no longer participate in the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation program.

Specifically, this program provided additional monetary benefits to Americans with both traditional W-2 income as well as self-employment income.

Instead, the state will use federal aid to bankroll a return-to-work bonus program. In particular, the bonus program incentivizes Montana workers if they get a new job.

If they manage to work for at least four weeks in the new job, individuals will receive a $1,200 bonus.

‘Montana Is Open For Business Again’

“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,” the Republican governor said in a statement.

“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.

Our return-to-work bonus and the return to pre-pandemic unemployment programs will help get more Montanans back to work,” Gianforte added. 

Worker Shortage In Many Industries

The governor cited a shortage of laborers in many industries in Montana. In particular, he mentioned the health care, construction, manufacturing, and hospitality, and leisure industries. 

The worker shortage in these sectors became Gianforte’s main basis for the decision to extend back to work instead of unemployment bonuses.

In fact, State Commissioner of Labor and Industry Laurie Esau said Montana's unemployment rate sits at 3.8%. This rate is already pre-pandemic numbers, although the workforce shrank by 10,000 workers. 

Even outside Montana, restaurants and the rest of the hospitality industry struggled to fill vacant positions. Experts believe workers are reluctant to return to foodservice and hospitality due to many reasons, with health as the foremost one.

In addition, some believe that some workers are waiting out for higher wages before applying for jobs. Meanwhile, generous unemployment benefits, including the federal weekly stipend of $300, makes them comfortably afloat. 

Earning More On Unemployment

Toby Malara of the American Staffing Association said that many workers aren’t rushing to get back to work. “We began to see that some employees were in a position where they were literally making four, five sometimes $6 an hour more” on unemployment insurance,” he said. “It did not make sense for them to go back to work.”

Gianforte agrees. He said the extra federal unemployment aid is currently “doing more harm than good” to local businesses. In addition, he agreed that additional payments serve as an incentive for people to stay at home, collect money and not look for jobs. 

Labor Department ‘Disappointed’ In Montana’s Decision

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh expressed disappointment in Gianforte's decision. This is according to a statement released by Labor Department spokesperson Michael Trupo.

“Choosing to eliminate these critical benefits will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable,” Trupo said. He added that the move puts workers with a higher risk for COVID-19, or those who live with an at-risk family member, at a disadvantage. With Gianforte’s decision, they must now “make an impossible choice” between their health and their economic security.

Watch the KRTV News reporting that Montana will launch Return-to-Work bonuses and opt-out of federal unemployment benefits:

Do you support Montana’s decision to address worker shortage by ending federal unemployment benefits?

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Do you support Governor Gianforte’s decision to remove the federal unemployment benefits? In addition, do you support his Back to Work bonus program?

Tell us what you think about Montana’s program to get businesses back on track. Share your comments below.



  • Tawney Weaver says:

    Everywhere you look companies need workers, but if you keep paying them extra money no one will go back, it’s time for all states to end it.

  • Rosa Lea Price says:

    Every state should end it. It should have never been paid.

  • BBA says:

    Welcome to socialism boys & girls. If you think for a moment that this is not preplanned by or corrupt Government then you are very naive in your thinking!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree time to quit living off the government

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s about time! Now if only all other states would follow suit

  • phillip hurst says:

    Sanity at last.

  • Pat L says:

    Never should have been implemented the second time. The first time was was not well thought out either. Should have gone according to the individuals yearly income.

    Also, the stimulus checks were not well thought out either.

  • Bill says:

    Cancel all unemployment benefits for those able to work. Need to fill all open positions in the economy to get America Great Again.

  • Mike says:

    They are the ones taking advantage of the prog rams they need to get off their behinds and go back to work. Big government needs to step back instead of making America weak but this is what they want to depend on big brother to get the freebies…

  • Thomas murphy says:

    We have had workers tell us they want fired so they can make more money on unemployment and stay on a paid vacation vs working for less money since part time hours are restricted from full time benifit s and then at part time wages one has to hold two jobs.So there has to be some change here .Either raise the part time hours allowed to work ,or lower the high wages by being on unemployment which with all the borrowed money that is going to put our children in even more debt from higher taxes in the future causing another generation to want even higher wages to make a better living because of this debt we are adding now .Vs education those to help them selfs .not live off the government then stand on the other side of the fence bitching about folks that bust their ass’s to make them a better life ..So yes .Stop this dumb shit decisions that are government hand outs and teach its people howcto fish vs feeding them like they are to stupid or lazy to learn how to help them selfs . When folks have skin in the game .it give one pride to defend for thems selfs vs say they are a nobody and cannot live with out the government keeping its people a slave to the government!

  • William Cartwright says:

    The work is out there But the help is not Take away the FREEBIES And watch the help get off there behinds

  • Tammy says:

    Hurray! Let’s kick this socialist agenda to the curb and get back to work. No more government handouts. Wasn’t it John smith who said, “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” back when the Pilgrims first arrived?!

  • Melissa Evans says:

    Yes. The health crisis was extremely exaggerated. People and young people at that are dying and suffering bad health because of vaccine so I say open up, stop the vaccine and let’s get on with living. Stop the control and stop the genocide that is happening.

  • Thomas murphy says:

    Come on.Lets stop spreading this type of nonsense .Thinking .People want take care of their destiny.Let me tell you .I know a lot of folks that have come here as a first generation and they have lived where the government control s ever thing it people do .and not a one of them have ever said they want to fgo back to tbeir home land ran from ..When a government has complete contol of its people .You do as your told or you disappear and some times the whole family disappeares and no one ask where they went or they to disappear.So this slippery slop free gives you now make from the high class down slaves forever once free people of its country is under government rule .You had better do your fact checking on this or tberes not another country like the one tou live in .Maybe you should movecto one of the country’s that is run and your controled by its government and see how nott being free is !

  • thomas murphy says:

    Sorry for the fat fingers no spell check small phone old eyes spelling and grammer

  • BBA says:

    @Thomas Murphy!! You are correct in your thinking. Too many Americans are lazy and have no problem mooching off of the working tax payers who have to fund it. The problem is that with EVERY dollar taken out of my pocket and every other working stiff it does not even come close to equaling what these morons in Government are spending right now. People need to look at it like this. When you depend on living in someone’s home knowing they do not pay the mortgage and lives off of maxed out credit cards how long will you be able to stay until everyone is bounced out on their asses?!? That is where this country is right now. A lot of people are enjoying this ride to the bottom with all of the “free” stuff but when the recession or depression comes,……..and it IS coming in the very near future what are all of these lazy government leeches going to do when big brother can’t help them?? Bad things are coming and it could be stopped immediately but again too many lazy ass Americans do not care!!

  • Louis Critelli says:

    The comments says it all and I agree with all of them !!

  • David says:

    It took way too long and ALL states should follow. This is just a way to help bury the country in further debt, just like the stimulus checks. Someone should tell the moron Trupo there’s no need to worry about people going back to work and catching the flu, confirmed by our admin who opened the border completely and lifted the travel ban back in Jan!

  • Dave Motz says:

    Aren’t you all so sweet! How many of you commenting here actually lost your career to this scamdemiic? And how many of you received a stimulus check even though you never were financially affected by this “ governments” actions? How many of you returned the stimulus check?
    My dream job has been eliminated and it’s not coming back. I refuse to wear a face diaper and will die or kill before taking the vaccine.
    I will milk this government and you “essiential” (privileged) workers until the pain of this corrupt government is universally understood.
    I’m sure this sounds petulant to many of you but as a 52 year old white guy growing up in Hawaii, I’ve had more than enough of this BULLSHIT!
    Liberty and justice for all that is applied equally is MY culture and I’m damn proud of my culture.
    Ironically it’s Asian American month in America, let’s celebrate their contributions in the last year and a half.
    America is bound for hyper inflation and massive civil unrest. As soon as the “not so free” money runs out, BLM A- holes will be back to work in a community near you.
    So in summary, I disagree with cutting the PUA program. Aloha, God you all, and stay locked and loaded.

  • Skeptical says:

    Provided the executive abuse of civil liberties (lockdown) is forsaken, eliminating enhanced unemployment support in a time of labor shortage is just peachy. Otherwise, the Governor is simply seeking to strongarm residents into a permanent subservient role while the abuse continues.

  • David Edwards says:

    Yes it is time for the brainwashed people to get off they’re a!!es and get back to work. The Dumbocrates running this circus has to stop. hopefully Arizona will follow Montana’s decision too.It time to get back to a normal way of life

  • Cindy says:

    All the people coming over the boarder will love 2 take all the jobs that are open . I hope they do ! And when the unemployment finally ends you people that wouldn’t go back 2 work will have no jobs 2 go back 2 . You think the government is going 2 care about u then ? Think again ! They got what they wanted !

  • Anonymous says:

    Agreed 100% get off your and get back too work I have been working they the whole pandemic and been in 4 different states Sop being a mooch

  • Joeleen says:

    If you can protect you and your family from influenza each year, then you can protect you and your family from “covid” too..nothing is perfect at all. Possibilities are very real. to stay in fear means to stay afraid and that’s no way to live. I am physically at risk as anyone else’s . Never worn a mask this whole time. Been amid hundreds of ppl a week, hugging, shaking hands, standing together in prayer having no idea where 90% of them came from.. With out fear. And have not gotten covid. Some people will get it, some won’t. Some will die, some wont. And most will never get it at all.. I’ve been tested numerous times over 1 1/2 years still doing all the stuff I’ve always done. And I’m fine. Be cautious for sure. But think for yourself..

  • John says:


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