On Monday, Governor Doug Ducey rescinded a March 2020 Executive Order that waived the requirement that an individual receiving employment benefits must be actively looking for work in order to receive the benefits. Arizonans receiving unemployment benefits may continue to receive benefits, but under reinstated requirements, must show that they are actively looking for work.
The move was hailed by employers struggling to find employees.
According to the Governor’s Office, Arizona’s labor force currently is 100.09 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, with more people employed in Arizona than before the pandemic.
Businesses are struggling to fill positions, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. The Governor’s Executive Order is intended to help fill those low-wage jobs.
TODAY: I issued an Executive Order to meet surging job demand and support job creators throughout Arizona as employment opportunities grow and the #COVID19 vaccine is available for anyone who wants it. 1/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) May 3, 2021
The Arizona Department of Economic Security will begin enforcing the reinstated requirement the week of Sunday, May 23.
“A year out from the start of the pandemic, jobs and vaccines are readily available,” said Ducey. “Arizonans are ready to get back to work. Our economy is booming, jobs need filling, more than 2 million Arizonans are fully vaccinated, and vaccination appointments are available to anyone who wants one.”
“As President Reagan said, the best social program is a job,” the Governor added. “This statement rings true today. Unemployment benefits are still available to Arizonans who need them, but now that plenty of jobs are available, those receiving the benefits should be actively looking for work.”
“Southern Arizona businesses made many adjustments and sacrifices to weather the economic effects of the pandemic,” said Tucson Metro Chamber President and CEO Amber Smith. “Businesses cannot afford to weather another storm unable to fill positions. Now that vaccines are out far and wide, many businesses are scaling back up looking for employees. It’s important that we work to meet this job demand and get the word out that a variety of jobs are available.”
A February report released by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity is projecting strong job growth in the state over the next two years, with the largest gains happening in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic. Arizona is expected to gain more than 325,000 jobs between spring 2020 and the same time next year, a 5.5 percent annualized growth rate.
“Arizona continues to be a top travel destination for leisure visitors,” said Arizona Office of Tourism Director Debbie Johnson. “The tourism industry was hard-hit by the pandemic, but now that we have a better understanding of the virus and more people have been vaccinated, visitors are returning to Arizona for our unbeatable outdoor recreation, top-notch restaurants, beautiful lodging and more. With this increase in demand, the tourism industry has jobs to fill to keep up. I’m encouraged to see how far we’ve come from this time last year, and I’m looking forward to the return of strong tourism employment in Arizona.”
Additionally, the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity in March released an employment report showing more than 16,000 jobs had been added back in the state. Also, an April article from AZ Big Media shows Arizona is among the top five most recovered states for unemployment.
“The Arizona Department of Economic Security throughout the pandemic has worked hard to ensure benefits are distributed timely, and that the needs of families and individuals are met,” said Arizona Department of Economic Security Director Michael Wisehart. “Arizona’s economy continues to strengthen and employers are looking for talent. Businesses have implem