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FILE (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
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New Unemployment Claims In Utah Continue To Drop

FILE (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There were 5,455 new unemployment claims in the state last week, according to the latest report from the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

That number is down by 820 claims from the week before.

For the week of May 17 – 23, there were also a total of 2,278 new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims filed, which are reserved for Utahns who do not qualify for the state’s unemployment insurance – those who are self-employed, for example.

Department of Workforce Services press conference

LIVE: Utah Dept. of Workforce Services holds press conference with information on the latest state jobless report

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Thursday, May 28, 2020

“We have now received the same amount of claims in the last ten weeks that were filed over the previous three years, while successfully standing up all the federal stimulus benefits made available by the CARES Act,” said Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “I can’t say enough about the staff and how hard they have worked to provide this critical benefit to those who desperately needed it.”

Nationally, another 2.1 million Americans filed for new jobless benefits last week, bringing the running total to about 41 million since the pandemic shutdowns began in March.

In April, the U.S. unemployment rate was at 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression.

According to a report from the Associated Press, national first-time applications for unemployment have fallen for eight straight weeks.

In Utah, most of the state has moved from the “moderate risk” to “low risk” stage of the reopening plan, and business leaders have indicated the Beehive State could move to the next phase – “new normal” – as early as June.

“We’re headed towards green because the data tells us that Utahns by and large are being responsible,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and the chair of Utah’s COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force. “Moving from yellow to green is probably more of a step than when we moved from orange to yellow because green tells us we’re getting to that new normal.”

Miller also noted that the recent jobs report shows more Utahns have returned to work than have filed new unemployment claims.

KSL TV’s Matt Rascon contributed to this report.

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