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N.H. To Resume Work-Search Requirement For Unemployment Beneficiaries

N.H. Employment Security office in Manchester.
Dan Tuohy / NHPR
N.H. Employment Security office in Manchester.

After a pause of more than one year, New Hampshire’s work-search requirement for people receiving unemployment benefits will resume next month.

New Hampshire Employment Security had suspended, since the start of the pandemic, the policy that requires recipients of benefits to be actively searching for work while receiving benefits.

But at a press conference Thursday, Gov. Chris Sununu said, with job fairs and other employment support programs soon to be fully operational to assist residents re-entering the workforce, it made sense to reinstate the work requirement beginning May 23.

“Those unable to return to their old jobs can utilize the state’s job boards, the job fairs, to find employment that is right for them,” Sununu said.

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New Hampshire’s unemployment rate in March was 3 percent, half the national rate and slightly higher than the rate at the onset of the pandemic, at 2.7 percent.

State health officials reported 515 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, including more than 100 cases identified at the federal prison in Berlin. The prison outbreak has now grown to 175 resident cases, plus four staff members.

The only other active institutional outbreak in the state is also in Coos County, at the county-run nursing home, where seven residents and nine staff members have tested positive.

One new death related to COVID-19 was also reported Thursday. To date, 1,274 people have died from the coronavirus in New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic.

Officials said that 47 percent of state residents have now received a first vaccine dose. Slightly more than a quarter of New Hampshire residents are now fully vaccinated.

Your Guide To Coronavirus Vaccines in New Hampshire

As of this week, any adult is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in New Hampshire. That includes seasonal residents, out of state college students, and other non-residents.

Sununu said Thursday that between 10,000 and 12,000 non-residents have so far registered for an appointment. He said that was far short of the number state health officials anticipated.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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