More than 100,000 Hoosiers collecting the last weeks of federal pandemic unemployment benefits were supposed to be easing into a recovering economy with better job prospects than any other time during the pandemic.
But as the federal program ended in September, Hoosiers in fact have faced a sluggish economy, another COVID-19 surge and potentially another tough pandemic winter that could kill off more businesses, said Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University.
“We no longer have payroll protection, we no longer have the CARES ACT,” he said, referring to financial assistance programs for businesses and workers. “It’s possible that a substantial number of Hoosier businesses will not survive a second COVID-19 year.”
The recovery predicted by legislators was thwarted by the stubborn resistance among huge swaths of Americans to receive vaccines and then exacerbated by a highly…