COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Missouri Department of Labor is tightening rules about qualifying for unemployment.
The department's "work search" requirement resumed on Sunday after the requirement was waived during the record unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, Missourians are required to complete at least 3 work search activities each week, unless there is an exception made by the department. A work search activity is an attempt to find a job or resume working.
According to the state's unemployment map, as of June 20, unemployment claims in Missouri were nearing 1 million at 969,000 total claims. Boone County has racked up 24,885 of those claims, and Cole County comes in at 9,409 claims so far.
While unemployment remains high, one job search agency is optimistic in the current job market.
John Scalise of Job Point in Columbia said many places are hiring employees in several fields, like construction, retail and landscaping services.
"Certainly there are some industries that can't get enough employees, they are very active and seeking," Scalise said. "It's a great time to find a job, especially if you've had a gap of employment or not a lot of work experience because I think businesses are being a little more forgiving."
He said even in the height of the shutdown over the past few months, many businesses were still needed people to work and were hiring.
"It's really what is your skillset, what is your health and your comfort level and what are the opportunities that go along with those," Scalise said.
As these job losses came unexpectedly for most, Scalise said it's hard for people to look for a job if after having a certain lifestyle.
"It's hard to decide, do you take a job that pays half of what you are used to and if you don't whats the alternative, I think that's the hardest part for humans," Scalise said.
Watch ABC17 News at 9 and 10 for a full report.