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Utah unemployment filings up again

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has seen another dramatic increase in workers filing for unemployment benefits.

Over the last week, 28,560 new claims were filed.

This comes after the state saw a nearly 1,400% increase in the number of filings last week.

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

The Utah Department of Workforce Services says the three industries that saw the most workers file were in Food Preparation and Serving (16.6%), Office and Administrative Support (12.03%) and Management (9.46%).

The Department of Workforce says that if your employment has been affected by COVID-19 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 and where daily workshops can be found.

Kevin Burt joined Dave and Dujanovic on Thursday and says that these numbers are unprecedented.

“This week we’re not seeing a significant decrease in the claim volume,” Burt says.

“Over the last two weeks, we’ve received just about the same volume of claims that we received all of last year.”

 

Burt says that the average time for processing new filings is about 21 days, but with the influx of new claims that may take a little longer.

He also reminds those that may be filing for unemployment benefits that if they haven’t found work, they need to ensure that they are continuing to file their weekly claim.

“One thing we want to emphasize in a lot of these individuals that have applied for unemployment, this might be their first experience with unemployment.

“They need to keep in mind it’s not one application, then it’s done every week, they need to do a weekly claim to be able to continue to receive the benefit,” he told Dave and Dujanovic.

Burt told Dave and Dujanovic that while unemployment benefits were never intended to fully replace lost wages, that with the federal stimulus package individuals will see a bump in the aid.

“The expectation is they return to work, [but] this is a different environment where individuals are now asked to stay home.

“So that stimulus is intended to get it closer to the replacement wage that was lost for these individuals that are unable to look for work now because of some of the restrictions that come with COVID-19.”

Burt says that in Utah, the maximum benefit workers can expect to receive is $580 and that the federal stimulus bill would include a $600 weekly increase.

Burt says they have not yet received any guidance on when or how that federal money will be implemented.