Sean O’Leary at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy provides some background:
On June 19, Governor Justice ended all federally funded pandemic unemployment benefit programs, 12 weeks before they were set to expire. The benefits — which included an extra weekly $300 payment to unemployed workers, as well as extended eligibility both for workers who had exhausted their regular weeks of eligibility and for self-employed workers and independent contractors who are not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits — have played a major role in West Virginia’s economic recovery. They have pumped nearly $1.7 billion into the economy over the past year, boosting state tax revenue and sustaining jobs.
Despite the fact that the enhanced unemployment benefits were helping the state recover, and that there was no evidence that the benefits were creating a so-called “labor shortage,” Governor Justice claimed that federal programs — in particular, the extra $300 weekly payment — were discouraging people from returning to work, and that he was losing patience with what he described as people “scamming” the system.
And here is what O’Leary found:
However, in the nearly two months since Governor Justice prematurely ended the enhanced benefits for unemployed West Virginians, there has been no sign that doing so has positively impacted the employment rate. In fact, the data indicates that the governor’s decision may be hurting the economy.
O’Leary includes the following graph:
Additionally, O’Leary demonstrates that ending benefits did not improve the state’s employment rate and perhaps, most importantly, it “sharply increased” financial hardship in the state.
West Virginia’s senior senator, Joe Manchin, has a different perspective:
Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) signaled [last] Saturday that he would not support including an extension of federal jobless aid for gig workers and long-term unemployed Americans beyond Labor Day in Democrats’ budget reconciliation package this fall.
“I’m done with extensions,” Manchin reportedly told Insider. “The economy is coming back.”
“Look guys, read your own print,” he added. “Read your own print. The economy is stronger now, the job market is stronger. Nine million jobs we can’t fill. We’re coming back.”
Look, Senator, read the evidence – people are still hurting.
To his credit, Manchin’s statement did not adopt this perspective found on Fox News:
Finally, there are the Republican legislators in the "progressive" state of Wisconsin. From Vice News:
Wisconsin Republicans have been fighting for months to limit or eliminate unemployment benefits for their state in the face of the coronavirus. But they’ve found one group they want to help: the unvaccinated.
Wisconsin GOP lawmakers are circulating a bill that would allow people who lose their jobs because they refuse to get that COVID-19 vaccination to collect unemployment benefits, WKOW reported.