Economic recovery means people on unemployment will need to look for work to keep benefits

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Marta Lavandier

SPOKANE, Wash. — There are nearly 17,000 people currently on unemployment in Spokane County.

If you’re one of those people, starting next month you’ll have to start looking for work to keep those benefits.

RELATED: Washington: People on unemployment must look for work

This requirement isn’t new.

Governor Inslee actually waived it during the pandemic and it’s been extended ever since. But, with the economy now slowly recovering, that job search requirement will soon be back in effect.

“We haven’t seen anything like this ever before,” said Kevin Williams of WorkSource Spokane.

COVID-19 changed all of our lives—many of us were forced to quit our jobs, and many others were laid off.

“It’s an overwhelming amount of individuals that went on unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Williams.

Williams has seen this firsthand with nearly 37,000 people applying for unemployment benefits during the peak of the pandemic.

“You know, a lot of businesses during that timeframe were, of course, reducing or having to shutter their doors,” said Williams.

That’s why Inslee decided to wave the job search requirement for those on unemployment. But with the economy recovering, the job search requirement is going back into effect.

That will start the week of July 4.

People on unemployment will have to report at least three job search activities each week starting June 11.

While looking for a new job isn’t easy…

“Now is the time to jump back into that workforce pool,” said Williams.

The good news is that many businesses are also looking to hire.

“Transportation, warehousing, scientific — you name it, almost all of them have positions that are open right now,” said Williams.

With all of the options available — where does one even begin looking? That’s where WorkSource steps in.

“A, to help individuals — what that job search requirement means specifically for them and B, of course, to connect them with their next great job opportunity,” said Williams.

It’s an opportunity to keep moving forward — despite the challenges we’ve all faced.

“I think there’s no better time than now for folks to be able to take a look at their skills and figure out where they want to go,” said Williams.

For more information on WorkSource and the resources they have available, visit their website here.