After suspending the requirements at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, several states are again asking recipients of unemployment benefits to prove that they are actively searching for jobs.
Experts say it will be hard to show applications for specific jobs when there are so few openings and the surge in coronavirus cases in many parts of the country has brought new restrictions on economic activity.
“It’s hard in any environment to show that you’ve done that many searches,” said Michele Evermore, senior researcher and policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. “Right now, I don’t understand how you apply for a job that doesn’t exist.”
Some authorities “have this mentality that people are just sitting home and collecting benefits,” she said. “I think the incentive for people to take benefits is that we have a plague.”
In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an executive order that reinstated the requirements this week and cited 30,000 open jobs in the state. Other states have moved more slowly. Texas was expected to bring back the job search rules at the end of June but delayed the move after coronavirus cases surged.