New figures show drop in unemployment after DES requires proof of job search

Nearly 50,000 Arizonans stopped collecting unemployment in the last few weeks, according to the latest numbers.

In mid-May, nearly 197,000 Arizonans filed continued claims for some type of unemployment, but this week, it dropped to 152,000, the lowest level since the early weeks of the pandemic. More than 100,000 Arizonans continue to receive unemployment.

There are a lot of reasons why someone might still be on unemployment currently, such as childcare issues and underemployment, but the massive drop in applications lines up with the new requirement people search for jobs while collecting.

Related: Ducey: Arizonans receiving unemployment benefits must prove they are actively looking for work

A spokesperson with the Arizona Department of Economic Security said they expect the data to continue to show a drop in unemployment applications next week. They say it indicates people are going back to work.

Unemployed worker speaks out

It’s been a month since Jeremy Gonzalez first showed us his tools going to waste. He was laid off during the pandemic.

"Bills are coming. Family needs to be fed," said Gonzalez.

In April, Gonzalez, an industrial electrician, said while jobs are out there, they don't apply to his specialty.

"I need to take care of a family so I need something can take care of a family," Gonzalez said at the time. "Benefits as well - dental insurance, health insurance, 401k."

Gonzalez is looking for another job as an industrial electrician, and he isn’t going to settle.

"I went to college to do what I do, and I’d like to continue doing that, and I’m not just trying to give up on my dreams and my goals," said Gonzalez.

Businesses still finding it hard to hire workers

Pam Giannonatti says it has been hard for many employers to fill open positions.

"It has been a struggle," said Giannonatti, who is with the grocery chain Fry's.

Fry’s had a job fair on June 10 to fill 1,000 positions in the state, and Giannonatti says job applications have picked up.

"We have seen an increase in applications, so that’s really exciting that’s happening in Arizona," said Giannonatti.

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