PHOENIX, AZ (STL.News) Governor Doug Ducey today issued an Executive Order to meet surging job demand and support job creators throughout Arizona as employment opportunities grow and the COVID-19 vaccine is available for anyone who wants it.
Today’s Order rescinds a March 2020 Executive Order that waived the requirement that an individual receiving employment benefits must be actively looking for work in order to receive the benefits.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security will begin enforcing the reinstated requirement the week of Sunday, May 23.
“A year out from the start of the pandemic, jobs and vaccines are readily available,” said Governor Ducey. “Arizonans are ready to get back to work. Our economy is booming, jobs need filling, more than 2 million Arizonans are fully vaccinated, and vaccination appointments are available to anyone who wants one.”
Arizonans receiving unemployment benefits may continue to receive benefits, but under reinstated requirements, must show that they are actively looking for work.
“As President Reagan said, the best social program is a job,” the Governor added. “This statement rings true today. Unemployment benefits are still available to Arizonans who need them, but now that plenty of jobs are available, those receiving the benefits should be actively looking for work.”
Arizona’s labor force currently is 100.09 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, with more people employed in Arizona than before the pandemic. However, many businesses are struggling to fill positions, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. The Governor’s Executive Order aims to help fill these spots and promote continued job growth.
“Southern Arizona businesses made many adjustments and sacrifices to weather the economic effects of the pandemic,” said Tucson Metro Chamber President and CEO Amber Smith. “Businesses cannot afford to weather another storm unable to fill positions. Now that vaccines are out far and wide, many businesses are scaling back up looking for employees. It’s important that we work to meet this job demand and get the word out that a variety of jobs are available.”
A February report released by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity is projecting strong job growth in the state over the next two years, with the largest gains happening in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic. Arizona is expected to gain more than 325,000 jobs between spring 2020 and the same time next year, a 5.5 percent annualized growth rate.
“Arizona continues to be a top travel destination for leisure visitors,” said Arizona Office of Tourism Director Debbie Johnson. “The tourism industry was hard-hit by the pandemic, but now that we have a better understanding of the virus and more people have been vaccinated, visitors are returning to Arizona for our unbeatable outdoor recreation, top-notch restaurants, beautiful lodging and more. With this increase in demand, the tourism industry has jobs to fill to keep up. I’m encouraged to see how far we’ve come from this time last year, and I’m looking forward to the return of strong tourism employment in Arizona.”
Additionally, the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity in March released an employment report showing more than 16,000 jobs had been added back in the state. Also, an April article from AZ Big Media shows Arizona is among the top five most recovered states for unemployment.
“The Arizona Department of Economic Security throughout the pandemic has worked hard to ensure benefits are distributed timely, and that the needs of families and individuals are met,” said Arizona Department of Economic Security Director Michael Wisehart. “Arizona’s economy continues to strengthen and employers are looking for talent. Businesses have implemented policies to keep staff safe and vaccines are available to any Arizonan who would like to get it. If any Arizonan needs assistance finding employment opportunities, the [email protected] team is available to help individuals return safely to the workforce.”
To date, Arizona has distributed 5,102,705 vaccinations, with 2,329,956 Arizonans fully vaccinated against the virus. State sites have administered 1,473,916 of those doses to 821,552 individuals, of whom 695,622 have been fully vaccinated.
“Jobs are plentiful and employers are ready to hire,” said Town of Pinetop-Lakeside Community Services Manager Tony Alba. “Like all areas throughout the whole nation, our community felt the effects of the pandemic — businesses had to adapt, hard workers lost their jobs, and tourism slowed down. Now that Arizona’s economy is strong and jobs are available, I’m thrilled to see the Pinetop-Lakeside community and the entire state continue to move forward.”
On March 24, Governor Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services expanded vaccination eligibility to all Arizonans 16 and older. Currently, supply is outstripping demand. More than 67,900 vaccination appointments are available at state-run sites and appointments are no longer required.
View the Governor’s proclamation HERE.