Hoosiers Make Up Almost 2% Of National Unemployment Application Record

Claims for unemployment benefits are spiking around the country as businesses shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus

Claims for unemployment benefits are spiking around the country as businesses shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus

Initial jobless claims in the week ended March 21 were up from 282,000 in the prior week and more than quadruple the previous record high of 695,000 in 1982, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday.

The sheer number of the claims is nearly five times the previous record set in 1982 and is one of the first looks into the widespread economic damage caused by the virus.

More than 133,000 people in Washington filed for unemployment benefits last week as government-ordered shutdowns to slow the coronavirus outbreak hit the state's economy. Almost every state cited the impact of COVID-19 as the cause of unemployment, with the accommodation and food service industries particularly impacted.

That number would be well above the levels seen during the darkest days of the Great Recession, and the worst isn't over yet, they say.

In previous weeks, the Department of Labor has already given states additional flexibility in terms of granting unemployment benefits to workers whose place of employment has shut down, quarantined employees, and those at risk of exposure or caring for an affected family member. Weekly claims are the most timely labor market indicator.

There were reports of many states saying their employment websites crashed because of heavy traffic.

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Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist for the US Department of Labor who is now with the Economic Policy Institute, called the surge in unemployment claims just the tip of the iceberg. "Tens of millions of job losses are probably in coming weeks".

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is encouraging New Mexico residents who are filing for unemployment to do so online, which should make it easier for the state to respond quickly.

In the bill, unemployed workers affected by the coronavirus include those that are unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work due to the impact of COVID-19 as well as independent contractors, the self-employed and gig economy workers.

Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics correctly predicted what he called a "horrific" result, noting that NY state alone had received 1.7 million calls about benefits.

A $2.2 trillion emergency economic rescue package approved by the Senate Wednesday night will provide unemployment insurance benefits equaling about $24 per hour for four months.

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