Employment Security Department

In order to collect unemployment benefits, you usually have to show that you're looking for work.

But not anymore.

The state Employment Security Department announced Tuesday that the job search requirement has been made optional. It also is retroactive to March 8 and will "continue until further notice."

"Waiving the job search requirement helps make it easier for people to use the benefit," Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine said in a statement.

As the coronavirus outbreak slams the economy, many suddenly find themselves out of work, according to jobless claims data.

Jobless claims for the week of March 14 doubled to 14,154 from 7,606 the previous week, according to ESD data.

Unemployment claims tied to restaurants and bars, plus schools -- two industry sectors that have been closed during the outbreak -- showed the greatest increase, according to the ESD data.

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