Monday, September 27, 2021


The House could vote this week on the Build Back Better infrastructure bill, which contains resources to fight climate change, and the NTSB investigates an Amtrak derailment in north-central Montana.


A government shutdown looms as the Senate prepares to vote on the debt ceiling, former President Trump holds a rally in Georgia, the U.S. reopens a Texas border crossing, and an Amtrak train crash kills three in Montana.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Utah Governor Ends $300 Federal Jobless Benefit Early to Boost Employment


Monday, May 17, 2021   

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Utah officials are cutting back on jobless benefits, claiming without evidence federal "bonus" payments are keeping thousands of Utahns from returning to work.

Critics of the move announced last week by Gov. Spencer Cox, said an early end to the $300 weekly pandemic stimulus and other related benefits will hurt thousands of recipients by slashing their income before they are ready or able to re-enter the workforce.

Chase Thomas, executive director of the Alliance for a Better Utah, said the move will force many workers to re-enter an economy which has not fully recovered from the COVID-19 crisis.

"With the pandemic, we've learned that there are a lot of deficiencies with our existing economic system," Thomas contended. "Whether it's the low level of unemployment benefits, we're also just going back to a severely deficient minimum wage."

Cox called the move a "natural step" toward returning the state to normal and claimed there are more than 50,000 jobs available in Utah.

But Thomas accused him of simply copying a dozen other red-state governors in ending the payments without proof that there is a labor shortage. Thomas also believes many Utahns are hesitant to return to the job market out of concern the pandemic is not over yet.

"It remains to be seen," Thomas argued. "We know that the pandemic is ongoing and that there are people that are still feeling unsafe going back to work. We also know that there are still industries that haven't fully recovered yet."

George Hammond, director of the Economic and Business Research Center and chief economist in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, said it is likely the pandemic is causing long-term, permanent changes to the American work force.

"This is an issue that has been building, as we see continued large-scale retirements of older people as they reach that age," Hammond explained. "The Baby Boom Generation that's been retiring in large numbers for years now, and it's going to continue to affect labor supply."

Currently, about 28,000 Utahns are receiving the additional $300-a-week federal benefit. Under Cox's plan, the unemployment stimulus and other federal payments, originally scheduled to end in early September, will now end in late June.

get more stories like this via email
Many people with developmental disabilities couldn't receive meaningful day services during the pandemic. (Adobe stock)

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE -- Spurred on by COVID challenges, a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council to two human services providers is …


RUBY MOUNTAINS, Nev. -- Nevada is the driest state in the nation, yet few of its rivers and streams have federal protections. Now a new report …


ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. -- This weekend, athletes from across the nation gathered in South Pass City to Run the Red, a series of marathons through the Red …

With census data showing a more diverse population in Minnesota, advocates say it's important to adopt policies that meet the needs of growing racial groups, including older residents. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The challenges facing older Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Minnesotans will be the focal point of a virtual forum tomorrow…

Health and Wellness

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Missourians have a little more than a month until open enrollment for health-care coverage at, and medical experts …

Since Section 232's implementation, U.S. steel producers have announced the reopening of facilities in at least 15 states. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

TOLEDO, Ohio -- As the Biden administration engages in talks with the European Union about dropping tariffs on its steel exports, many U.S.-based …

Social Issues

LINCOLN, Neb. - A coalition of Nebraska community organizations and supporters are collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would raise the …

Social Issues

MADISON, Wis. - Prescription drug costs are climbing faster than wages for the average Wisconsin resident. That's according to a new analysis…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021