Michigan Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Michigan Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Work Search Requirements in Michigan

For Michigan residents receiving unemployment insurance benefits, one of the key requirements for ongoing eligibility is to actively search for new work.

Claimants must also be able to accept new work when it is offered. Michigan unemployment insurance benefits are intended as a temporary financial safety net as workers carry out activities that ultimately lead to their re-employment. The work search requirement, which is documented in recipients’ bi-weekly claims, is one way the state of Michigan can verify that UI benefits are accurately paid to those who remain in compliance with the program.

Register to Work Requirement

The state of Michigan requires that all recipients of Michigan unemployment insurance benefits register with Michigan Works.

This is a two-step process. First, you’ll need to create a job seeker profile on Pure Michigan Talent Connect. Once your profile is complete, you’ll need to meet with a staff member from your local Michigan Works! Service Center, either virtually or in person. This staff member will verify your job seeker profile and send this verification to Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.

You will receive a confirmation email when the process is completed successfully. You should go through these steps as soon as possible after submitting your Michigan unemployment application. Please note that you must complete the two-step process at least one business day before you submit your first weekly certification claim. Failure to do so could mean a delay in receiving your benefits

What are Michigan Unemployment Work Search Requirements?

In order to maintain Michigan unemployment eligibility, claimants must document that they are regularly participating in activities that move them closer to re-employment. Michigan requires that you report at least one work search activity for each week you claim benefits.

You’ll be required to report on your work search activities when you submit your bi-weekly certification claims. Make sure you’re providing accurate and complete information when you make these reports – knowingly providing false information as part of your weekly claim is considered unemployment fraud. Please also note that any weekly certification you submit will not be considered complete unless it includes information about your work search activities. Until your weekly claim is complete, your benefits will not be paid. To estimate your payment, you can use the Michigan unemployment calculator.

How to report your work search

The state of Michigan allows you to report your work search activities either over the phone or online, and you are required to do so on a bi-weekly basis.

Certify online

To submit your Michigan unemployment bi-weekly certification using your Michigan Web Account Manager account, follow these basic instructions:

  • Log into your Michigan Web Account Manager account
  • Follow the prompts to answer questions about your work search activities for the certification period
  • Enter the details of your work search activity for both week 1 and week 2 of the certification period

If you choose to certify online, you may do so on any day during your certification week.

Certify by phone

To certify by phone, call 866-638-3993.

Then, listen to the prompts and answer the certification questions as they are posed to you. After submitting your answers, stay on the line. You will be connected to an agent so you can provide details about your work search activities. Make sure you don’t hang up before you have given these details or your certification won’t be complete and you will not receive your benefits for that certification period.

Please note that if you choose to submit your weekly claim over the phone, you’ll be required to call on the scheduled day and time that corresponds with the last two digits of your Social Security Number. You may do so Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Acceptable Work Search Activities

Any of the following are considered valid Michigan unemployment work search activities:

  • Create a profile or resume on a professional networking or job site such as MiTalent.org, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, LinkedIn, Google Careers, etc. (once per benefit year)
  • Apply for jobs, either in person or online
  • Participate in documented virtual or remote job shadowing
  • Register for work with a private employment agency, recruiter, or headhunter service
  • Enroll in the Clean Slate Program through your local MichiganWorks! (once per benefit year)
  • Participate in online job search workshops or seminars that help improve your skills and make you more attractive for employment
  • Obtain a National Work Readiness Credential
  • Participate in a virtual or in-person job fair or other MWA-sponsored hiring event and reach out to at least one employer afterward
  • Use resources available at a local MichiganWorks! office – like obtaining job postings for jobs listed by local employers and making at least one contact
  • Participate in a Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment appointment – either initial or follow-up
  • Complete an online interest inventory, such as Strong, My Next Move, Myers/Briggs, or similar
  • Participate in a private sector paid or unpaid work experience or internship
  • Complete LinkedIn Learning certified courses or courses on a similar online learning platform that issue certificates of completion

Do I have to accept any job offer?

According to Michigan labor laws, anyone receiving Michigan unemployment benefits must accept suitable work whenever it is offered. While that doesn’t mean that you have to accept any job offer that comes your way, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits if the state of Michigan determines that an offer you refused was for work that matches your experience and skill set.

To decide whether full-time or part-time work offered to you is suitable under the law, the state will consider the following:

  • The employee’s prior training and work experience
  • The employee’s physical fitness for the job
  • Length of the employee’s unemployment
  • The employee’s prior earnings
  • The employee’s prospects for securing work in their previous occupation
  • Any risk to the employee’s health, safety, health and morals
  • Distance of the work from the employee’s residence

The less amount of time you’ve been receiving unemployment benefits, the more freedom you have to decline an offer of employment. At first, if you decline a job offer the state determines is suitable, you can be denied benefits if the pay rate for that job is at least 70% of the gross pay rate you earned immediately before losing your job.

But once you’ve collected half of your benefits, the law states that you must apply for, and accept, work even if the job is outside of your previous training and experience, or unsuitable as to the pay rate as long as three key criteria are met. You must accept the job under the following conditions:

  • The pay rate must be at least minimum wage
  • The pay must equal at least the average wage for similar work in your area
  • The pay must equal at least 120 percent of your weekly benefit amount

Under Michigan labor law, work is considered unsuitable only if it’s vacant because of a labor dispute, or if wages are below the usual rate for that job in the area. Work can also be deemed unsuitable if you are required to join, resign from, or refrain from joining a union in order to accept the job.

Once you find a job, you can simply stop certifying for unemployment benefits. If the new job doesn’t work out, you can reopen your unemployment claim.

Michigan Unemployment Job Training

If you’re currently receiving Michigan unemployment benefits while you search for new employment, it’s important to understand all the resources the state makes available to support you in your job search efforts. From training to apprenticeships and coaching, you have a wide range of options to help you successfully transition into your next job.


MichiganWorks! makes available on-demand training sessions and videos. Topics range from self-care during tense situations to revamping your resume and more. In addition, unemployed Michigan workers can access One Stop workshops, which are offered each week on Monday and Tuesday. Workshop topics address everything from resume writing to interview skills, career pathing, and more. Ultimately, MichiganWorks! exists to connect both workers and employers with the information, training, and advocacy they need to thrive. Once you’ve submitted your Michigan unemployment application, it’s a good idea to get connected with Michigan Works! to begin your work search activities. You can also visit a Michigan unemployment office in person (by appointment only).


In many fields, completing an apprenticeship can offer a viable path to a new career. Through its Registered Apprenticeship Program, Michigan helps connect workers with organizations and agencies that are looking for apprentices to help build their future workforce. Participation in this program allows you to learn a particular role from experienced professionals and earn income while you train. High-demand registered apprenticeship occupations include information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, logistics, automation, engineering, and more.

Going Pro

Michigan’s Going Pro program seeks to connect workers with some of the highest demand professional trades across the state. Going Pro can help you identify a career path in manufacturing, automotive, IT, health care, and construction – with Going Pro’s wealth of information and resources, you can identify a career path and connect with people who can help you make it a reality. GoingPro can provide valuable information and activities that you can report as work search activities when you file your biweekly claim.

Michigan Training Connect

Michigan Training Connect is the state’s official training provider list for workers who qualify under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. MiTC provides detailed information about education and training programs available to eligible Michigan Works! participants.

Program partners include education and training programs offered through public and private community colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, corporate training centers, proprietary schools, registered apprenticeship sponsors, adult education programs, and intermediate school district career centers.

To find out whether you qualify, contact your nearest Michigan Works! office.

Pure Michigan Talent Connect

Pure Michigan Talent Connect is an online tool that connects job seekers and employers across the state. In addition, Pure Michigan Talent Connect serves as a hub, linking all stakeholders who support Michigan’s workforce. In other words, Pure Michigan Talent Connect essentially serves as the state’s labor exchange system.

Use Pure Michigan Talent Connect to reach out to employers and respond to their outreach to maintain your Michigan unemployment eligibility.


Michigan’s Pathfinder online platform helps users navigate through possible career tracks. You can research possible career options, schools, and training programs, plus potential costs and expected earnings, depending on the career path you explore. The program also allows you to choose multiple possible paths and compare them.

You can save your choices and view them at any time. For job seekers who are undecided about where to go next, Pathfinder can provide valuable information that can inform your next steps around searching for work.

Training for Veterans

Numerous resources and jobs for veterans are available for Michigan’s unemployed veterans or simply those who are interested in furthering or changing their careers. For example, Michigan veterans may take advantage of their GI Bill benefits to further their education. Or, they may receive VA educational benefits while participating in an approved apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency provides additional information and support for Michigan veterans looking to re-enter the civilian workforce.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Adult Program (WIOA)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Adult Program in Michigan offers basic career services to Michigan job seekers that include general information, advanced screened referrals, program information, basic assessment, group activities, individual job development, advanced job club, and job search support.

In addition, individuals who haven’t been able to find work by using core services and who need more individualized services can access features such as comprehensive specialized assessments, career counseling, literacy activity, internship support, individual employment planning, case management, out of area job search support and relocation assistance.

Those who are eligible for the WIOA program also may access several different types of training to help prepare them for internships, apprenticeships, or potential employment. Priority for this program is given to recipients of public assistance, other low income individuals, and those who have shown deficiencies in basic job skills.

  1. If one week I submit an application and the next week someone calls for phone interview, can I record that as a contact for work search, or do I need to attempt to contact a different employer to meet the contact criteria?

  2. I have the same question as Steve (12/5/17) – I was offered a job and ceased contacting other potential employers while moving forward with pre-employment activities; physical, background check/fingerprinting, etc., and was denied the week. I protested and was again denied. I want to appeal the determination. It feels inappropriate to fill out applications for roles that I would not be willing to accept only to be able to fill out the contacts form. How do I approach the appeal?

    • Amy,

      There is a thin line between being eligible and otherwise. If you were asked to leave because of findings against you during the background checks, you might not be eligible.

  3. I received and accepted a job offer two weeks ago. The past two weeks I have been processing paper work, drug screening and waiting for a start date so I have not been contacting other employers. When I submitted by claim on line yesterday, I answered that I have not been actively seeking work the past two weeks and was provided a message I would be receiving email asking for clarification. Is the paper work and drug screening activity considered part of the work search?

    • Steve,

      I am not sure of an answer to your question. Please call the Claims Center and speak with a representative for further instructions.

  4. I report my job searches on line in for the state of Michigan. Am I still required to submit a job search form to the local MWA office?

    • Julie,

      Submitting forms through a single channel should be sufficient. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  5. Quit my job of 15 years due to a break down in communications in the office. I was the asst to the president of company. As he tried to cut back on his work load his son became Vice President. The office manager / human resources person continually told other employees about my private business including the tragic death of my son 3 years ago. On more than one occasion I went to my boss (the president) and expressed my concern at what was happening and how it made me feel. He took no action and the communication between has suffered. I felt I had no other choice but to find new employment. After less than 2 weeks at this new job I realized I was in over my head and decided to leave. I have not even received a paycheck from the new company. Would I be able to collect unemployment from the first job that I was at for 15 years.

    • Charmaine,

      You can be eligible to claim UI benefits for quitting due to hostile work environment. Please consider applying and make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute from your employer.

  6. Worked for State of Mi for 19 years,terminated for falsifying an entry in log book unintentionally and without malice,am I eligible for unemployment?

    • You can if you’re able to prove your innocence if there is a dispute raised by your employer.

      Please consider applying for it.

  7. If I was in an auto accident that caused my company not to be able to insure me and laid me off as a result, am I eligable?

  8. I have been trying to Fax my work search summaries to FAX # 1-517-636-0427 with no success. Please advise if I can FAX it to another FAX #. or if there is another alternative. I am worried because I will be calling MARVIN on Wednesday morning.

    Thank you
    Rene Montilla

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