CORONAVIRUS

More Than 28K Utahns Filed For Unemployment Benefits Last Week

Apr 2, 2020, 9:37 AM | Updated: 8:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –  Governor Gary Herbert called the latest unemployment numbers pretty grim. In just the last two weeks, more Utahns have filed for unemployment benefits than during all of last year.

Last week, more than 28,500 people in the state submitted new claims – up 46 percent from the week before. A total of $3,972,938 was paid in benefits.

There were 19,591 claims the previous week.

Nationwide, a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, doubling the previous record of 3.3 million the week before.

“We are approaching more new claims in the last two weeks than the number of claims filed in all of 2019,” said Kevin Burt, director of Utah’s Unemployment Insurance Division.

Because of the higher demand, the unemployment office said people should expect longer wait times to get questions answered and to process claims.

“The Unemployment Insurance Division staff continue to work diligently to meet this unprecedented volume,” Burt said. “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.”

Officials said it’s not necessary to call after you’ve applied online.

“What happens is we pull off people who are normally processing the claims, to be able to respond to those phone calls, and in the end, it’s delaying those processing timeframes,” said Burt.

The top three industries with the highest percentage of claims over the week were: food prep and service with 17 percent, office and administrative support with 12 percent, followed by management.

Normally, unemployment only pays about 50 percent of your wage, and you’re required to look for work. That’s not totally possible during the pandemic.

That’s where the federal stimulus act kicks in. It will provide $600 extra per week. However, it’s still unknown when people here in Utah will get that extra payment.

“The law has passed, but the (US) Department of Labor is responsible for that. We haven’t received the guidance on how to administer that or how to draw down those funds,” said Burt.

There has been no word yet on how the self-employed can file.

Once the money starts flowing, the $600 weekly payments will be backdated.

All of Utah is impacted, but the numbers show employees along the Wasatch Front have dealt with the most unemployment.

Nearly 42 percent of the new claims were from Salt Lake County, followed by Utah, Davis, Weber and Washington Counties.

Officials said there have been additional delays because people new to the process have forgotten to submit their weekly statements, meaning they won’t get paid.

Those applying for unemployment payments must submit the initial claim, and then send a quick weekly update.

Workforce Services holds press conference

LIVE: Workforce Services holding press conference following report of 28,560 new claims for unemployment benefits in Utah

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Thursday, April 2, 2020

How to get help

Click here for information on your options in Utah if COVID-19 has impacted your employment.

Click here for resources available to businesses affected by the pandemic.

 

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More Than 28K Utahns Filed For Unemployment Benefits Last Week