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Job-searching requirements for unemployment benefits could see surge in new job-seekers

Hiring managers across the Carolinas are hoping a wider pool of applicants means more jobs being snapped up as the end of the pandemic nears

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Unemployment rates across the Carolinas are at their lowest since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's good news all around for workers, job recruiters, businesses, and the economy in general.

"The business sector has certainly picked up in the last three to four months," Catapult Co-CEO Kenny Colbert said. 

That observation is shared with Julia Pollock of ZipRecruiter, who notes employers want more people to come to work.

"Postings have now recovered to their pre-COVID highs, and employers are looking for candidates quite feverishly in our marketplace," she said.

But the sunshine of low unemployment rates means that those who are still facing unemployment will need to go back to following previous rules about seeking much-needed benefits, just as feverishly as employers are looking for them. 

North Carolina's unemployment rate was at 5.7% in February 2021, while South Carolina was at 5.2% the same month. March's rates for both states are expected to be even lower.

During the pandemic, the requirement to show proof of a job hunt to be eligible for unemployment benefits was waived. North Carolina has since reactivated that requirement, while the job search requirement will be active again in South Carolina effective April 18. 

Job seekers shouldn't fret, however; the job market is expected to fully recover in the coming weeks and months, so interviews and hires should be easier to secure. For Pollock, that means employers and employees can find a return to normalcy soon.

"Cases are down across the country, and vaccination rates are accelerating across the country too," she said. "So it's possible that we could have an almost normal summer again."

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