PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday an executive order that would require unemployed Arizonans to prove that they are actively looking for a job to continue receiving unemployment benefits.

This would get rid of Gov. Ducey's March 2020 executive order that waived the previous requirement to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic so that they could receive unemployment benefits more efficiently.

"A year out from the start of the pandemic, jobs, and vaccines are readily available," said Governor 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."

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) will start enforcing the requirement starting the week of May 23, according to a press release from Ducey's office. Arizonans who are receiving unemployment benefits may continue to receive their unemployment benefits but will have to show they are looking for work. 

“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 implemented policies to keep staff safe and vaccines are available to any Arizonan who would like to get it. If any Arizonan needs assistance finding employment opportunities, the ARIZONA@WORK team is available to help individuals return safely to the workforce.”

"I’m not looking for a handout; I don’t want one," said Andrea Ellis. Ellis, a single mom living in Gilbert, says she would love to go back to work, but the issue is making a living wage. "The price of childcare, plus all of my other living expenses, is well over $3,000 dollars a month. And me being able to get a job that would afford that ability is not really a possibility," she said Monday afternoon.

Hiring employees is a serious struggle at the Courtyard by Marriot in Mesa, which is steps away from a popular spring training facility. "Probably 90% of the people that set up interviews don’t show up," said Kevin Thorpe.

Thorpe is the director of the Power Hotel Group, which has four properties and between 30 and 40 open positions in the Valley. Governor Ducey's recent executive order was great news for him. "There’s been times where we haven’t been able to sell rooms because we can’t get them ready," Thorpe said. "And it’s, you know, I think what the government did was good at the time, but the time has come to do away with it."

Economists told Arizona's Family this spring that if someone is going to make the same amount on that unemployment benefit, there's a strong incentive to not go ahead and get that job.

Dave Wells, the research director with the Grand Canyon Institute, says Governor Doug Ducey's executive order was expected. But he believes it should have been tied close to vaccine changes. Wells thinks people want to work, but they also want to be safe. "You know, to get the vaccine, it takes actually six weeks," Wells said. "In some cases if you get the Moderna vaccine, get one shot a month later, then two weeks later you’re set."

For Ellis, who has two kids with disabilities who fell behind in online schooling, she couldn't take care of them and keep up her job. Ellis does hope to be working when school starts in the fall.

To read the full press release from Governor Ducey's office, click here. To reach DES or get more information, you can visit their website here


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