Work search requirement to return for people without jobs, NC Works says job market is improving

North Carolina

As a work search requirement goes back into effect for people out of work in North Carolina, NC Works says people have more options for employment.

The requirement, which was waived months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will go back into effect for anyone who lose their job after March 14, 2021.

Chris Rivera leads Guilford Works, which helps people in the Triad secure employment. He said there are more job openings for those looking.

“As we see, particularly in our community, the unemployment rates drop and see an uptick in the number of positions that are posted in NC Works online. It says to us that there is work out there. Certainly there are considerations that should be given to people that have been displaced from jobs that just aren’t really coming back, your restaurants, hospitality and tourism types of jobs,” he said.

During the first months of the pandemic, Rivera said people were competing for a limited number of jobs.

“Maybe in the first three months of the pandemic, we saw 200 jobs post to our system, so multiplying that by 10 and now having 2,000 jobs over 60 days is extremely encouraging,” Rivera explained.

NC Works staff members are also helping people out of work pivot to industries hiring during the pandemic.

“We’ve seen a sharp uptick in the advanced manufacturing logistics types of industries, back office administrative types of roles, healthcare naturally,” Rivera said.

Shon Smith, of Winston-Salem, lost his job in May in the restaurant industry. Months later, he’s finally secured work in his field starting this week.

“It took a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Smith said, adding that he considered looking for jobs in other fields to support his family.

“They don’t see what you can bring to the table. They just see that you can come to the table. I wasn’t going to let anyone take advantage of me, and I’m only making .35$ less than what I was making at my other job,” he said.

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