Utah unemployment claims jump nearly 1,500 percent due to COVID-19 layoffs

Counties in Utah. Image: Google Maps

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 26, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Nearly 19,600 new claims were filed in Utah for unemployment benefits between March 15 and 21.

The exact number was 19,591, a report from the Utah’s Division of Workforce Services says. That number is 1490.9% of the 1,314 claims filed the week before.

“Clearly, the volume of claims has increased significantly, and also quickly,” said Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

“The Unemployment Insurance Division staff are working diligently to try to meet this high demand, understanding the significance of this benefit to those that are applying. It is important to note that many of the new claimants are still connected with their employer and expect to return with increased economic activity.”

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

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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 (37%)
  • Office and Administrative Support (9.3%)
  • Management (8.6%).The five counties in Utah that had the highest number of individuals file new unemployment insurance claims were:
  • Salt Lake (47%)
  • Utah (12.4%)
  • Davis (7.1%)
  • Washington (6.2%)

Weber (6.2%).

People whose employment has  been impacted by COVID-19 should visit jobs.utah.gov/covid19​ to find updated FAQs as well as workshops ​done 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.

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