TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Out-of-work Floridians will soon once again have to show they’re looking for work to keep collecting unemployment checks.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees the state’s reemployment program and distributes unemployment benefits, said there are plenty of employers looking to hire.
Altrua Global Solutions, a Tallahassee-based printing company, usually prints ads and promotional material for businesses. Now, the business is primarily printing “Help Wanted” signs for employers.
And, according to the printing company’s leadership, even Altrua is having trouble finding employees.
“A lot of people, they’ll come in and interview, but then we might hire them and they don’t show up for the job,” Altrua President Skip Smelko said.
Across the state, it’s become a common site: businesses replacing signage saying they’re closed due to the pandemic with signs that say “Now Hiring.”
“The 2021 pandemic is unemployment,” DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said. “Not being able to hire.”
Eagle announced Wednesday the state will soon reinstate work-search requirements for those collecting unemployment.
“The goal here is to help everyone find employment. There is hope on the horizon: 400,000 jobs are out there,” Eagle said.
The state hopes the announcement will send a message to unemployed Floridians to start looking for a job now before the benefits run out.
“I don’t want them to wake up... and realize unemployment is not available and they also don’t have a job,” Eagle said.
The state is now requiring new benefit recipients to sign up with Employ Florida, which aims to connect them with businesses that are looking to staff up.
“The network is here to help Florida businesses, large and small, connect with the hundreds of thousands of Floridians we know want to get back to work,” CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard said.
Those who are currently collecting checks won’t be required to register with Employ Florida, but both new and current recipients will have to prove they’re looking for work to receive benefits after May 29.
Secretary Eagle also said the state doesn’t currently plan to opt out of the additional $300/week federal unemployment benefit program before it expires in September, but he said that option is still on the table.