Utah’s 2 week total for unemployment claims nearly equal to all those filed in 2019

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 2, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The number of unemployment claims filed in Utah in the last two weeks was almost equal to the number of claims filed in all 52 weeks of 2019.

The 28,560 new claims for the week of March 22 to March 28, 2020 are 2425% higher than of those of an average week in 2019, a Thursday report from the Utah Division of Workforce Services says.

“We are approaching more new claims in the last two weeks than the number of claims filed in all of 2019,” says Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, in a prepared statement.

“”The Unemployment Insurance Division staff continue to work diligently to meet this unprecedented volume. Strategies continue to be implemented to respond to this need, as well as the new benefits being described in the CARES Act, but with this historic demand there will be some disruption in our normal service levels.”

Empty sidewalks in downtown Salt Lake City, March 26, 2020. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

Between March 22 and 28, $3,972,938 was paid in benefits. Payments to people who filed during the week of March 15 to March 21 began going out on March 31. Those numbers will be reflected in next week’s report.

The number of individuals who ended their unemployment insurance claim on March 21, 2020 was 1,113. A total of 1,508 ended their claim during the previous week.

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As the state continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, this number will help demonstrate the number of individuals no longer accessing unemployment benefits, the statement says.

Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services

The three industries that saw the highest percentage of claims this week, as self-identified by the claimant at the time of their filing, were:


  • Food Preparation and Serving (16.6%)
  • Office and Administrative Support (12.03%)
  • Management (9.46%)
The main dining room of Anna’s Restaurant at 4770 900 East in the Ivy Place Shopping Village stands empty in the wake of restaurant closings designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

The five counties in Utah that had the highest number of individuals file new unemployment insurance claims were:

  • Salt Lake (41.83%)
  • Utah (14.63%)
  • Davis (9.17%)
  • Weber (6.81%)
  • Washington (6.06%)

People whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to visit jobs.utah.gov/covid19. There, they will find regularly updated FAQs including on the impact of the federal stimulus known as the CARES Act. Workshops are also available twice daily providing information on how to apply for unemployment benefits, what temporary financial assistance may be available and tips for finding a new job. The page also includes an FAQ for employers with questions regarding unemployment insurance.

Individuals should apply online and take the time to complete their application fully, the statement says. The division will contact the claimant if there is a need for additional information to process your claim; there is not a need for the claimant to contact the division.



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