By Steve Bittenbender
(The Center Square) – In less than two weeks, most Kentuckians who file for unemployment will need to show proof they’re looking for their next job.
The Kentucky Office for Unemployment Insurance announced the work search requirement will be reinstated effected May 9. That had been waived as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused thousands of workers to lose their jobs as businesses shut down due state-mandated closures and restrictions.
According to the state’s Claimant Guide, those drawing unemployment benefits must apply or make contact regarding full-time job opportunities. The handbook said filers are given a “reasonable” amount of time to find a position comparable to their most recent job.
“If you are not able to find comparable work after a reasonable period of time, or if that type of work is not available in your area, you must adjust your work search,” the handbook said. “Your adjusted work search may require you to look for job that might pay less or located further away from your home than your previous commute.”
State officials recommend job seekers keep a list of their contacts. That includes the name of the business, position title, person contacted, their title, the date of contact and contact method. That information will need to be provided to the state.
Those excluded from the job search include union members whose labor organization finds work for them, students in approved training programs, workers with a definite recall notice within 12 weeks of the initial claim, individuals on a temporary leave of absence and those whose employer completed a mass electronic claim for them.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 5%, tying it with neighboring Tennessee for 22nd lowest in the country.
After the pandemic began, the rate shot up from 4.2% in March 2020 to 16.9% a month later. Since June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate has been at or below 5.7%.
Last month was the first time in a year the number of unemployed Kentuckians dipped below 100,000. The preliminary figure was 99,553.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that its website has more than 95,000 positions available at companies across the state.
“Kentuckians returning to work is a vital step to recovering our economy and ensuring our citizens’ health, well-being, and future prosperity,” said Beth Davisson, the chamber’s vice president of workforce development.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.