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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. Photo: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Monday ordered the state to terminate all participation in federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs.

Why it matters: Ivey, like South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), cited labor shortages, but some experts say it's the job climate and not unemployment benefits that is determining people's return to work.

Details: The order is effective June 19 and puts an end to:

  • Additional $300 weekly payments to recipients of unemployment compensation.
  • Benefits for workers who usually would not qualify, such as gig or part-time workers.
  • Extension of benefits.
  • An additional $100 benefit to some people with mixed earnings.

What they're saying: "As Alabama’s economy continues its recovery, we are hearing from more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant," Ivey said in a statement.

  • "Alabama is giving the federal government our 30-day notice that it’s time to get back to work."

Of note: Alabama has an unemployment rate of 3.8%, lower than the national rate of 6%.

The big picture: Ivey's announcement follows similar moves by South Carolina and Montana.

  • A Labor Department spokesperson told AP that the department has seen no evidence that enhanced unemployment benefits keep people from seeking work.
  • "Choosing to eliminate these critical benefits will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable," the spokesperson said.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
May 10, 2021 - Economy & Business

How to improve America's labor statistics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

We have a very weak understanding of the state of the labor market. That's the main lesson from the massive gap between expectations and reality in April's jobs report — and points to the need to beef up the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Why it matters: Unemployment insurance is administered by the states, and the states don't send that data to BLS. If they did, America would have much better visibility of local labor-market trends — and more accurate monthly job reports.

DOJ declines to defend Mo Brooks in Capitol riot lawsuit

Rep. Mo Brooks during a June news conference on Capitol Hill. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Georgia congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the insurrection. He said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Team USA's Katie Ledecky celebrates after winning the final of the women's 1,500m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky took home the Olympic gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Of note: The Tokyo Games mark the first time that the long-distance race has been open to women, and Ledecky paid tribute to her predecessors after the race. "I just think of all the great U.S. swimmers who didn’t have a chance to swim that event," she said on NBC.