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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The executive director of Kentuckiana Works said people who are still on unemployment should have little problem complying with a new state mandate.

Beginning May 9, Kentucky is bringing back the requirement that those receiving unemployment benefits must show proof that they are at least looking for full-time work.

“The good news is the economy is growing again, and lots of employers in lots of fields appear to be hiring,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of Kentuckiana Works.

Gov. Andy Beshear suspended the work-search requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic because so many jobs were lost so quickly. With the economy on the rebound, the Beshear administration is re-instituting the requirement.

Gritton said more “Help Wanted” signs are out as more people are vaccinated and the pandemic eases.

“Almost every employer that we're talking to is hiring,” Gritton said. “So the good news for anybody out there who's on the sidelines — unemployed — is that there are a lot of employers looking for people.”

In fact, Gritton said there are more jobs than applicants right now.

“This change to the unemployment rules is going to create a nudge to get more people to start looking,” he said.

And because of the labor shortage, Gritton said the pay is generally higher than before the pandemic.

“Not only are they going to find that there are going to be jobs available, but the pay levels have improved as well," he said.

There are some exceptions to the work-search requirement:

  • If you are member of a union that finds work for you
  • If you are a student in a training program
  • If you are laid off with a definite recall date within 12 weeks of your initial claim date
  • If you are on a temporary leave of absence
  • If you have been part of a mass electronically-filed claim.

“It's recommended you keep a record of all your job contacts, including the name of the business, the title of the position, the name and title of the person that you contacted, the date and the method of contact,” Beshear’s General Counsel Amy Cubbage said. “You will be required to provide those details during your bi-weekly benefit request.”

Mark Burry, who lost his job as a steel fabricator about six weeks ago, told WDRB News he has no problem with the work-search requirement.

“I think it's good," he said. "It gets people out, gets them off the couch, gets them back to work and gets the economy going again.”

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