GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — North Carolina reinstated the work search requirement, aimed to get people back to work, on Sunday. More than 250,000 North Carolinians are still unemployed according to the latest data from the NC Department of Commerce.
According to Executive Order 216 which outlines the work search requirement, people receiving unemployment benefits must show interest in at least three jobs per week.
“I’m ready to go back to work,” said Joseph Adams, who’s receiving unemployment benefits. Adams visited the GuilfordWorks career center in Greensboro on Monday. He reviewed the guidelines for the new state requirement for benefits.
Adams said he was laid off eight months ago during the pandemic by his employer, a furniture manufacturer in High Point. He has received unemployment benefits since late 2020.
“It’s been difficult because I haven’t had the money that I need to live,” Adams said. “I have been using the unemployment just to get over the humps.”
Since Sunday, Adams and anyone receiving unemployment checks are required to contact three different employers each week and keep a detailed record. It can include applying for a job, having a phone conversation with an employer, or attending a job fair.
Since being unemployed Adam hasn’t found the right fit yet.
“Trying to find a good job to go back to and one that I’m going to enjoy doing,” he said.
Adams is required to create a jobseeker account on NCWorks.gov. His account connects him with potential employers and stores his work search documentation.
“I think that this is going to be a positive for the state to demonstrate that we do have individuals that are looking to get back into the workforce,” said Chris Rivera, the executive director of GuilfordWorks.
Rivera and his staff help job seekers fulfill the requirements and connect them with employers. He estimates a 70 percent increase or nearly 2,000 people needing assistance at the GuilfordWorks per week for the time being.
The NC Department of Commerce conducts random audits of the work search records, according to a spokesperson. The information is reviewed during mandatory reemployment services and eligibility assessment appointments at NC Works career centers, like in Greensboro and High Point. A failure to keep up with work search records could mean a delay or loss of benefits.
“I think they’re going to start coming back out,” said Tim Reinhardt, the owner of the Bourbon Bowl in Downtown Greensboro.
Reinhardt told FOX8 he’s had to adjust opening plans because of the worker shortage. The possibility of more people looking for jobs is a welcome sight for him.
“They need to work,” he said. “They’re going to start checking that stuff, so now it’s time to go.”