Are unemployment benefits causing a worker shortage? No one knows for sure.

A customer walks behind a sign at a Nordstrom store seeking employees, Friday, May 21 in Coral Gables, Fla. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to 406,000, a new pandemic low and more evidence that the job market is strengthening.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (KCTV) — Saturday marks the end of the federal unemployment benefit for jobless Missourians.

Governor Mike Parson announced the move last month, claiming the benefits “have incentivized people to stay out of the workforce.”

The $300 a week federal benefit for unemployed workers is set to expire on the federal level in September, but at least 25 states have said they’ll end benefits early.

Some business owners agree with the governor that the benefit is keeping workers at home. But experts say there are other reasons, as well.

“I think there are multiple reasons why folks are staying out of the workplace,” said UMKC Associate Professor of Finance Nathan Mauck.

Mauck believes some unemployed people have been reluctant to look for work because they fear catching the virus.

Others have found new occupations rather than return to their old jobs. And many workers, especially working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to care for children.

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