Required job searches to restart soon for Connecticut unemployed

Connecticut

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Beginning Wednesday, most Connecticut residents claiming unemployment benefits must report their work search efforts to the state Department of Labor when they file their weekly claims in order to avoid being denied benefits.

The required work searches, which include employer contacts, job training and other activities, had been suspended during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike in other states, the $300-weekly supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is still available to qualified Connecticut filers. That and other federal unemployment programs established during the pandemic are scheduled to expire on Sept. 4. State unemployment benefits programs will remain available. Claimants are urged to keep their June work search documentation in case they’re audited.

Wednesday’s deadline does not apply to those filers who are excused from the work search requirement through an employer or other program.

In an effort to encourage out-of-work residents to find employment, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont in May unveiled his Back to Work incentive program that provides a $1,000 “signing bonus” to up to 10,000 recipients who’ve spent eight weeks in a new, full-time job. The program is being funded with federal relief money. “You see the big athletes get a signing bonus,” Lamont said in May. “Why don’t you get a signing bonus as well?”

The Department of Labor reported last month that Connecticut’s unemployment rate had dropped from 8% in April to 7.7% in May. The state added 7,800 jobs in May and had recovered 63% or 185,200 of the 292,400 jobs lost in March and April 2020.

“The economy continues to show improvement; the unemployment rate is down and so is the weekly claims activity. These are good signs that people are able — and feel safe enough — to return to work,” Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo said in a written statement. “May shows the largest drop in the unemployment rate that we’ve seen this year; as we head into summer, we’re optimistic that employers will continue to hire and the labor market will continue to recover.”

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