By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Unemployment is down slightly in Massachusetts but still above the national average, according to new April jobs numbers released Friday. This comes as the state is preparing to bring back its work search requirement for those seeking jobless benefits.

The state gained 5,100 jobs in April and the unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 6.5%. The national rate is 6.1%.

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When the Massachusetts state of emergency ends on June 15, anyone seeking unemployment benefits will have to show they are actively searching for a job. The requirement applies to those receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, as well as people on extended benefits.

The work search requirements have been suspended since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

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“Refusing work because a UI claimant would rather collect more money in unemployment benefits is not reasonable in any circumstances and is considered fraud,” Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration said in a statement Thursday.

The state says claimants “will need to keep a detailed written log of their work search activities” and complete at least three per week in order to remain eligible for benefits. Work search activities include submitting job applications, registering with a local Mass Hire Career Center, looking up job listings, contacting professional associations and networking.

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Click here for more information about applying for unemployment in Massachusetts. Staff