Changes to unemployment work requirements

Posted at 12:01 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 11:18:57-04

Work requirements are now back to what they were before the pandemic, according to the Idaho Department of Labor, which means if you're getting unemployment, you also have to be looking for full-time work.

According to IDOL, the work search requirements apply to both regular and federal CARES Act unemployment insurance programs and apply to everyone getting unemployment, including self-employed people.

"Unemployment insurance claimants are required to apply for two jobs per week or complete two work activities per week," explained Leah Reeder, an unemployment spokesperson with IDOL.

Reeder clarified those work activities/jobs cannot be self-employment or 1099 gig work.

There are some exceptions if you are returning to work with your employer within 16 weeks of your layoff date or are an active member of a work referral union.

The Idaho Department of Labor says this is not a new requirement; rather a return to the process from before the pandemic.
As Idaho News 6 has reported, some work requirements were waived during the pandemic, but with state unemployment rates easing back to pre-pandemic levels that's changing.

Idaho had a 3.2% unemployment level for March 2021 after hitting an all-time high 11.6% seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in April 2020.

As Idaho News 6 has reported, Idaho's economy is rebounding faster than almost anywhere in the country.

Economic experts say the data surrounding Idaho's speedy recovery suggests Idaho's recent growth may have been a factor.

"Utah is the only state that's comparing to us in terms of how fast we're rebounding, and it's because Idaho and Utah were both rapidly growing from a population perspective," explained Sam Wolkenhaur, a regional economist with the Idaho Department of Labor. "The fact we're a net growth state from a population perspective, that people want to be here they want to move here, gave us a shot in the arm to bounce back faster than other states."

As Idaho News 6 has reported, despite the spread of a worldwide pandemic, growth in the Treasure Valley moved right along, and it's not likely it will slow down. Census data from 2020 showed the population in Idaho increased by 17.3 percent to 1,839,106 people over the last 10 years.

Much of the job opportunities have been in construction and other trades--but positions requiring skilled workers have been hard to fill. As Idaho News 6 has reported, the scarcity of skilled workers is growing more intense, despite the amount of unemployment created by the pandemic.

Programs like the Idaho Job Corps, Idaho Launch, and the Registered Apprentice program are working to help fill this gap--while also working to bring unemployment rates down.