Business · California

Calif. facing labor shortage, mandates unemployment recipients start looking for work

For the first time in 16 months, California’s unemployment agency will require Californians seeking jobless benefits to be searching for work to maintain eligibility.

As the Golden State stares down an historic labor shortage, the Employment Development Department will require unemployed Californians to be looking for work to receive benefits beginning July 11, the agency said in an announcement.

“California offers many resources to help people to find safe and suitable careers and training opportunities that keep the economy moving,” said EDD director Rita Saenz. “We want to make sure those on unemployment have enough lead time to start searching for work so they can remain eligible for benefits as they seek their next career opportunity

Currently, there are two unemployment tracks: unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance.

Those making regular unemployment insurance or extension claims are required to search for work to maintain their eligibility for benefits.

For those receiving pandemic unemployment assistance, those benefit recipients would need to take action to restart their business or look for work beginning in July.

California’s generous unemployment benefits and lack of requirements to look for work have led to widespread labor shortages, particularly among the service industry and in entry-level positions across the Golden State economy.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at