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Ducey ends job-seeking waiver for Arizona unemployed

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 11:57 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - An order from Gov. Doug Ducey has reinstated a requirement that Arizona’s jobless must show they are seeking work in order to receive unemployment insurance.

Ducey on Monday, May 3, rescinded a March 2020 order that waived the job-seeking requirements. The requirement will again be in effect beginning the week of May 23.

“A year out from the start of the pandemic, jobs and vaccines are readily available,” Ducey said. “Arizonans are ready to get back to work. Our economy is booming, jobs need filling, more than 2 million Arizonans are fully vaccinated, and vaccination appointments are available to anyone who wants one.”

Arizonans receiving unemployment benefits may continue to receive benefits, but under reinstated requirements, must show that they are actively looking for work.

Ducey says it’s time to reinstate the job-seeking mandate because all adults now have access to the COVID-19 vaccine and there are plenty of jobs available.

According to the governor’s office, Arizona’s labor force currently is 100.09 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, with more people employed in Arizona than before the pandemic. However, many businesses are struggling to fill positions, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality sectors.

“Southern Arizona businesses made many adjustments and sacrifices to weather the economic effects of the pandemic,” said Tucson Metro Chamber President and CEO Amber Smith. “Businesses cannot afford to weather another storm unable to fill positions. Now that vaccines are out far and wide, many businesses are scaling back up looking for employees. It’s important that we work to meet this job demand and get the word out that a variety of jobs are available.”

A February report released by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity is projecting strong job growth in the state over the next two years, with the largest gains happening in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic. Arizona is expected to gain more than 325,000 jobs between spring 2020 and the same time next year, a 5.5 percent annualized growth rate.

To date, Arizona has distributed 5,102,705 vaccinations, with 2,329,956 Arizonans fully vaccinated against the virus. State sites have administered 1,473,916 of those doses to 821,552 individuals, of whom 695,622 have been fully vaccinated.

Authorities on Monday reported 652 additional COVID-19 cases in Arizona and no additional deaths from the virus.

(Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)