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Unemployment agencies offer unemployment compensation, career services and post job openings.

Workers who lose their job due to no fault of their own qualify for unemployment benefits. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Workers who lose their job due to no fault of their own qualify for unemployment benefits.


Though unemployment services vary by state, every state is required to have an unemployment agency. Established under the U.S. Department of Labor's Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933, unemployment offices are government agencies that provide people with unemployment benefits. Individuals who become unemployed due to situations out of their control are typically eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Guidelines vary by state, but many states, such as North Carolina, require individuals to file weekly claims for unemployment benefits and to document that they are actively looking for employment.

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 expanded unemployment office services to include centralized career centers, which offer free job placement and job search resources. These resources are available to businesses and job seekers alike. In Ohio, unemployment offices provide businesses with job posting services, pre-employee screening, candidate assessment, mass recruitment, and assistance with job training and job fairs. Job seekers can utilize the services provided by unemployment offices to obtain a new job, change careers or enter the workforce for the first time. Young job seekers may use unemployment career services to find employers that hire younger workers, as well as to obtain developmental assistance in preparing for the workforce.

Unemployment Benefits

The Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program provides unemployment benefits to individuals who lose their jobs. According to the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina, individuals who quit their jobs, are fired from jobs or refuse a job referral or a job may not qualify for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment payments are temporary and are intended to provide short-term financial assistance. States establish their own unemployment programs in compliance with federal guidelines. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, benefit amounts, the duration of benefits and benefit-eligibility criteria are determined by states. In most states, the amount of unemployment benefits available is based entirely on a state-imposed employer tax.

Career Services

The Workforce Investment Act was implemented to enhance training, literacy, vocational and employment services in the United States. Career services at unemployment offices are a source of federal, state and local education and training. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, unemployment offices offer both self-service and staff-assisted job search and placement services free of charge.

Job seekers can obtain a range of career services from unemployment offices, including:

  • Skills assessments
  • Career guidance
  • Job-training referrals and workshops
  • Internet access
  • Recruiting services

States may have multiple unemployment office career centers available to help link businesses with qualified candidates and to help job seekers learn new skills and obtain new jobs. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, 31 career centers are located across 20 workforce areas in the state, with a minimum of one center in each county.

Special Needs Career Services

Job seekers with special circumstances and needs may qualify for additional unemployment services. Veterans looking for work are eligible to receive special services from unemployment offices, including priority job referrals and specialized employment and training services. Unemployment offices also seek to accommodate migrant and farm employees, ex-convicts, youth, senior citizens, minorities and job seekers with disabilities.

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