Starting Tuesday, Hoosiers receiving unemployment benefits will have to prove they are actively looking for work. The requirement is being reinstated after being dropped during the pandemic.
People getting unemployment aid must fill out job applications, go to job fairs or attend online workshops. They will then have to present evidence of those activities to the Department of Workforce Development for renewed benefits.
While Governor Holcomb says Indiana is ready to get back to work, some though don’t think it’s that simple.
Kyle Anderson, an economist at IU’s Kelley School of Business, says finding long-term employment takes time.
“We want them to find good jobs that are a good fit for them for the long term — not just find something that [the thinking process is] ‘hey, I need to go back to work today, right away, I’ll just take whatever.’”
Others argue Hoosiers may not have the skills needed for a position and are forced to return to the workforce before they are ready.
“Those minimum wage jobs are not intended to be life long, living wage jobs,” explained Kevin Brinegar, the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “They’re intended to be transitional jobs in particular for folks like high school kids and college kids who are saving for their living expenses while they further their education and training.”
Meanwhile, Indiana democrats want to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour.
“At the end of the day what Democrats want to do is to provide those initial stepping stones that allow those Hoosiers that have two to three minimum wage jobs to have one minimum wage job that pays a livable wage,” said Drew Anderson, the communications director for the Indiana Democratic party.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce does not support the idea of a $15 minimum.
“Let supply and demand work that out and have employers pay people based on the skills, knowledge and abilities they possess to do the jobs employers are looking for,” said Brinegar.
Last month when the governor announced this change, he said Indiana had more than 100,000 jobs to be filled.
According to the governor’s office, Indiana’s unemployment rate currently stands at around 4%. That’s down from a high of 17% during the height of the pandemic.