North Carolina reinstates pre-pandemic work-search requirements for unemployment benefits

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A pre-pandemic era work search guideline is being reinstated in an effort to transition North Carolina's unemployed back into the workforce.

In Gov. Roy Cooper's latest Executive Order 216 issued Friday, all existing claimants of unemployment benefits will be required to fulfill work-search requirements beginning June 6. All existing claimants will be required to register with a jobseeker account on NCWorks.gov during the next several weeks.

The order also directs the state's Department of Commerce to explore opportunities in line with federal law and using certain federal funds to establish a reemployment incentive program for those without jobs who can find and maintain employment.

Under the order:
  • Claimants must make contact with at least three different employers each week and keep a record of their work search, as is required by state law. One of the three weekly job contacts can be satisfied by attending an approved reemployment activity offered by a NCWorks Career Center or a partnering agency.
  • To continue receiving benefits, all unemployment claimants will be required to register with a jobseeker account on NCWorks.gov, North Carolina's online portal for employment and training services. Jobseekers can use NCWorks.gov to search and apply for jobs, access labor market information and find opportunities for workforce training. Over the next several weeks, existing claimants will receive notifications about registering for NCWorks.


"Unemployment benefits have provided a critical lifeline for many North Carolinians living on the edge due to the pandemic. As our state emerges from the pandemic, we want to help people safely return to work as soon as possible. Reinstating the work search guidelines will help connect claimants with employers, resources and tools to help them return to the workforce," Governor Cooper wrote in a statement.

RELATED: House proposal would award NC's unemployed up to $1,500 for securing a job
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A bill circulating in the General Assembly would award unemployed North Carolinians up to $1,500 for solidifying their space in the workforce.



North Carolina has distributed more than $11.7 billion in unemployment benefits across multiple state and federal programs since the start of the pandemic, according to Cooper. 245,000 North Carolinians are currently receiving benefit payment checks each week.

For those looking for work search assistance in North Carolina, can contact NC Works or 1-855-NCWorks. Further information about unemployment benefits can be found here.
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