Washington Employment Security Department

The state Employment Security Department says that Washingtonians collecting unemployment benefits will again be required to actively search for work to keep those benefits, starting July 4. 

New jobless claims continued to fall last week in Washington state, as the state’s job market continued its slow but steady recovery from the pandemic.

And in another sign of change in the job market, state officials announced that Washingtonians collecting unemployment benefits will again be required to actively search for work to keep those benefits, starting July 4.

Gov. Jay Inslee suspended the job-search requirement last spring.

“With the economy recovering, the job search requirement is going back into effect,” the Employment Security Department noted on its unemployment website. “This means you will be required to look for work and document at least three approved job search activities each week in order to remain eligible for unemployment benefits.”

Under the reinstated job-search requirement, claimants are required to begin searching for a job during the week of July 4-10 and must report details of those activities to the ESD beginning the week of July 11 and for every subsequent week they are claiming benefits.

The change comes as the ESD reported the third straight weekly decline in jobless claims.

Last week, Washingtonians filed 8,868 new, or “initial,” claims for unemployment benefits, a 12.1% decrease from the prior week, the department reported Thursday.

Nationally, new jobless claims fell 2.3% to 376,000, the lowest level since the start of pandemic-related layoffs in March 2020, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

Washington’s decline in claims was the third consecutive drop after a two-week surge in early May that was driven by fraudulent unemployment claims. Last week’s claims numbers were in line with a gradual decline this year.