Cooper signs order to fully reinstate unemployment work-search guidelines

Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order requiring all unemployment claimants to be required to do submit three work contacts a week beginning June 6. (Port City Daily/File)

In an effort to ramp up employment of more North Carolinians, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Friday that will expand work-search guidelines for individuals receiving unemployment benefits.

“As our state emerges from the pandemic, we want to help people safely return to work as soon as possible,” Cooper said in a release. “Reinstating the work search guidelines will help connect claimants with employers, resources and tools to help them return to the workforce.”

Cooper dropped work-search requirements throughout the pandemic, but required claimants that signed up after Mar. 14, 2021, to begin filing weekly work searches. Now, under executive order 216, all unemployment claimants will have to fulfill the requirements of contacting at least three employers a week, starting Jun. 6. Claimants will need to keep records of their contacts as well.


Individuals receiving benefits must register a jobseeker account at NCWorks.gov to file their work-search contacts. They can apply for jobs through the website, as well as access information about the labor market and training opportunities. Claimants can forego one of their three employer contacts weekly by signing up for a NCWorks re-employment activity through its career center or a partner agency.

Cooper’s order also instructs the N.C. Department of Commerce to “explore opportunities, consistent with federal law and through the use of certain federal funds, to establish a reemployment incentive program for jobless workers who find and maintain employment,” according to the release.

“Unemployment benefits have provided a critical lifeline for many North Carolinians living on the edge due to the pandemic,” Cooper said.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, North Carolina has paid out $11.7 billion in unemployment benefits. Currently, 245,000 North Carolinians are receiving payments.

Multiple industries have been reporting labor shortages, and having to amend business hours and service. The restaurant industry is one, which provides $21.4 billion to North Carolina, according to the National Restaurant Association, and equals 11% of jobs.

RELATED: Restaurant workers became jobless at the start of the pandemic. Why haven’t they come back?

More information can be found by calling 1-855-NCWorks; unemployment information can be found at des.nc.gov.


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