Unemployed Must Look for Work Starting May 23

Gov. Chris Sununu talks about the need to get people back to work at a recent press conference. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Paula Tracy, InDepthNH.org

CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu announced that as of May 23, everyone who is receiving state unemployment benefits will be required to show they are looking for work to continue to get those benefits.

With unemployment in the state at about 3 percent, Sununu said the state’s economy is “roaring back,” but he is concerned about there being enough workers to fill all the jobs that are open.

“If anything we are facing a worker shortage,” Sununu said.

Before the pandemic, the state required people who were receiving unemployment to actively be looking for work, he said. But with thousands of jobs going unfilled, “we will be reintroducing our work search requirement.”

The state has recently hosted 15 virtual job fairs by the state Department of Employment Security. Sununu noted two weeks ago on the Seacoast there was a virtual job fair with 100 employers offering over 3,000 jobs and only about 140 people showed up looking for work.

He said he is particularly concerned about filling jobs in the state’s tourism industry and getting enough workers for restaurants and hotels to operate this summer.

Sununu said he does not know any sector of the state’s economy that is not looking for new workers. He said he was making the announcement early to give folks time to plan and prepare for the work search requirement.

Sununu said all NH Works job centers in the state will be fully open by May 10 to allow for one-on-one interactions to meet the needs of job seekers. The state will host a virtual job fair on May 6 for veterans and one on May 11 with Pinkerton Academy focused on new graduates and younger workers. Another is planned for May 13 specific to contractors.

Anyone looking for details on the changes in requirements can go to unemploymentbenefits@nh.gov.

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