Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that the state will be ending enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits and reinstating the job search requirements as early as next month amid an uptick in COVID-19 vaccinations and worker shortages.
Via press release, Hogan stated that the combination of reaching the 70 percent vaccination-rate threshold in the state and the 12 consecutive months of job growth brought about the discontinuation of the program.
"Our health and economic recovery continues to outpace the nation, and we have reached the benchmark set by President Biden of vaccinating 70% of adults," said Hogan. "While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply. And we have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe worker shortages. After 12 consecutive months of job growth, we look forward to getting more Marylanders back to work."
24 states across the country as of June 1 have announced similar measures while declining case counts continue and worker shortages are affecting local businesses. The Biden administration has been reluctant to say that the enhanced unemployment benefits have kept people back from searching for jobs.
According to recent Department of Labor data, there are 8.1 million job openings nationwide, a record figure. Effective on July 3, Maryland will be ending the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs.
Beginning the week of July 4, unemployment claims will once again be required to prove that residents are actively searching for employment, a requirement that was paused at the beginning of the pandemic last March.
"As our state continues to make great progress in its economic recovery, employers are successfully reopening for business and creating job opportunities," said Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson. "Our team is available to connect jobseekers with a wide variety of training programs and resources, so they can find meaningful employment and return to the workforce."