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(The Center Square) – Virginia is bringing back job search requirements for people who apply for unemployment benefits, the Virginia Employment Commission announced this week.

Beginning with the week ending June 5, a person will only be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are searching for work. The requirement was suspended throughout much of the COVID-19 pandemic, but now that all Virginians 16 and older can receive a vaccine, the VEC is reimplementing it.

The requirement will apply to normal unemployment benefits and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. A person will be required to do at least two job searches per week.

Unemployment increased during the pandemic as people began to stay home and COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. As the restrictions have been reduced, the numbers have steadily improved, but have not yet recovered.

Stephen Haner, a senior fellow for state and local policy at the free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, told The Center Square that the decision is a good move.

“Better late [than] never,” Haner said. “For a while now it has been clear that employers are trying to ramp up and are finding it hard to find workers, perhaps because the benefits have been raised so high.”

According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, showed businesses are more optimistic than they were earlier in the pandemic, but that they have been struggling to find qualified workers.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.