COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Starting next month, unemployed South Carolinians will have to prove they are looking for work if they want to keep receiving jobless benefits.

The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce had suspended the twice-weekly mandatory work searches due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the requirement goes back into effect April 18, the agency said Friday.

“Now a year later, as more and more South Carolinians are returning to work and the unemployment rate is consistently dropping, it is time to reinstate the work search requirement in order to help employers and job seekers connect,” said Dan Ellzey, executive director of the agency, in a statement.

About 125,000 residents are drawing the unemployment benefits weekly, while employers in the state have 87,000 open positions to fill.

As of last month, the state's unemployment rate was 5.2%, compared to 5.3% in January. That's still more than double the 2.5% rate from February of last year. South Carolina continues to fare better than much of the country, with a national unemployment rate of 6.2%.

In the year following February 2020, the state has lost 85,100 non-farm jobs. The state's hospitality industry was the worst hit, with more than 13% of its 273,400 jobs lost in that time.