The representative association for Wyoming’s small businesses appreciated the move by Governor Mark Gordon, which ended the state’s participation in the supplemental unemployment benefits provided by the federal government.

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Tony Gagliardi, Wyoming state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), said:

“The extra money the federal government was offering on top of state unemployment benefits was due to expire in September, anyway, but by acting now, Gov. Gordon is correctly addressing a problem those extra benefits have created: a disincentive to return to work and start drawing a paycheck again.”

Gagliardi said the NFIB has not been in favor of the increased unemployment benefits since they were implemented at the beginning of the pandemic because of the possibility it would create a disincentive to work.

While the issue of workers making more off UI benefits than the job they work at doesn't apply to high skilled workers, Gagliardi said workers making less have more of a reason to not go back to work.

"If they're skilled trade they're making far more than minimum wage and I doubt it's those employees that are walking... if they're making minimum wage or midscale hourly wage, then I think it adds to their reluctance to go back to work."

NFIB’s latest Small Business Economic Trends report, found that while optimism is on the rise, a 4.8% increase over the past three months, so too is the inability to fill open positions, as a record 44% of small business owners report having that issue.

William Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist, who helped to create the report, said:

“Small business owners are seeing a growth in sales but are stunted by not having enough workers. Finding qualified employees remains the biggest challenge for small businesses and is slowing economic growth. Owners are raising compensation, offering bonuses and benefits to attract the right employees.”

Holly Wade, executive director for NFIB's research staff, said the UI benefits are only one part of why businesses are struggling, with COVID-19 restrictions and supply line disruptions also contributing to issues businesses face.

Gordon’s action coincided with several other Republican governors who are ending UI benefits, with the governor's of Idaho, Montana, Alabama, Tennessee, North Dakota, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Iowa all announcing their intent to end UI benefits in the coming months.

Several studies conducted throughout the pandemic, one in July 2020 and another in February 2021, have shown that there is not a correlation between increased UI benefits and workers being discouraged from returning to work.

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