LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas will be ending its participation in the federal supplemental unemployment assistance program, which was brought on to help thousands of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed the Division of Workforce Services to withdraw from the service by June 26.
“The programs were implemented to assist the unemployed during the pandemic when businesses were laying off employees and jobs were scarce,” Governor Hutchinson said. “ As we emerge from COVID-19, retail and service companies, restaurants, and industry are attempting to return to prepandemic unemployment levels, but employees are as scarce today as jobs were a year ago. The $300 federal supplement helped thousands of Arkansans make it through this tough time, so it served a good purpose. Now we need Arkansans back on the job so that we can get our economy back to full speed.”
Thousands of Arkansans are still out of work as the state begins to recover from the pandemic as more people get vaccinated and bars, restaurants and concert venues begin to operate at full capacity.
The governors of Montana and South Carolina already have opted out of the federal pandemic unemployment assistance programs.
The Arkansas Senate Republican Caucus say they applaud Hutchinson’s decision.
“The Arkansas Senate Republican Caucus fully supports the Governor’s action today,” said Republican Senator Scott Flippo, Senate Majority Leader, on behalf of the caucus. “We have heard from our constituents and job creators for the last few months about the difficulties of hiring and retaining their workforce. This action today will put more Arkansans back to work and sustain Arkansas jobs for years to come.”