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Unemployment applicants facing work search requirements in Pennsylvania starting Monday

PITTSBURGH — ‘Help Wanted’ signs are in almost any direction you turn as employers in Pennsylvania struggle to find workers. Many blame the state’s unemployment system and the extra $300 a week in federal aid as the reason there’s a worker shortage.

>>>RELATED: More technical issues hit Pennsylvania unemployment system

In Pennsylvania, there are currently 750,000 people receiving benefits.

Starting Monday, they’ll have to show proof they’re actively searching for a job. The state Department of labor and Industry is bringing back work search requirements starting now.

Since claimants always file for benefits the week after they are unemployed, individuals will have to start certifying that they looked for work beginning July 18. People are expected to apply for two jobs and fulfill a third requirement like going to a job fair.

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Across the board, businesses are struggling to find workers, said Mandi Pryor, executive director of the South West Communities Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s been really hard for a lot of our employers in the region, I mean everything from restaurants, landscapers, paving companies,” she said.

But will there be accountability? As it is now, Jeff Kosor, owner of Senior Helpers of Southwest Pittsburgh, is in-need of caregivers and says applicants drop out.

“Easily I’d say 3/4 of the people that apply for our jobs don’t respond to our calls or they don’t show up for the interview,” he said.

And it may not effect a claim. People filing are expected to record their work search but the state says it only quote “may” request to see it.

This as the department has been plagued with problems reported for the last year, from software issues to fraud to delayed payments for eligible people in need.

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