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Oregon's Work Search Requirement For Unemployment Benefits Resumes In July

Oregon Employment Department

Local employers are having a tough time filling positions in restaurants and other service jobs just as the economy eases back open. But, that might change as the state employment department reinstates a rule that was temporarily suspended for the pandemic.

Brian Rooney is a regional economist with the state of Oregon. He told KLCC he expects the labor market to loosen.

“We’re going into summer break,” Rooney said. “So, there’s a lot of high school and college students that’ll be looking for summer work. Also, the employment department is reinstating the work-search requirement for unemployment benefits. So, people will have to show proof of job search to continue collecting benefits.”

Rooney said Lane County has gained back almost half the jobs that were lost in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. He says education, leisure, and hospitality lost the most jobs.

He said with in-person learning coming back this fall, the education sector should be more like normal times this fall. The unemployment rate was 5.9% in May. At the height of the pandemic in April 2020, it was at 14.4%.

Copyright 2021 KLCC. 

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.