There seem to be two very diverse sides to the coin that is Louisiana's current employment crisis. Notice we called it an employment crisis and not an unemployment crisis. That's because the bigger issue doesn't appear to be taking care of those who are unable to work because of the coronavirus pandemic. The larger issue now seems to be getting people back into the workforce.

On one side of the coin, there are those that say enhanced unemployment benefits are providing the incentive for Louisiana workers to stay at home. The other side of that coin comes from those that suggest current wages in the state need to be raised. Otherwise, workers wouldn't be willing to sit at home. In fact, some of those workers claim they are making more in unemployment benefits than they did while working a full-time job.

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As you might imagine businesses who need workers want the enhanced benefits stopped as soon as possible. In response to requests for such an action, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has commissioned the services of Economist Jim Richardson. Richardson has been tasked with preparing a study that looks at the enhanced unemployment benefit and whether or not it is in Louisiana's best interest to keep it in place through September.

Can a coin have three sides? Well, I guess this one can. In addition to the two sides of the unemployment coin we've described there is actually a third position to consider. The enhanced unemployment benefits, totaling more than $8.2 billion dollars, have had a very positive effect on local economies in the state.

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Governor Edwards says that Richardson's study should be completed within a couple of weeks and he will use the information from that study to make his decision. Meanwhile, the enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government are scheduled to be in place through at least Labor Day.

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