Wasatch Back Unemployment Claims Trend Down
While unemployment claims in the state remain at a record high, the state agency in charge of handling the claims says they are seeing some positive trends.
Brooke Porter Cole with Utah Workforce Services says last week the state saw another encouraging drop in the number of new claims filed. The past week saw 9,000 new claims which is less than earlier in the pandemic but nearly double the previous record high of 5,000 in 2013.
“We are excited about the amount of benefits that we're seeing going out, which means those record numbers of claims are getting processed,” Cole explained. “Which is something that has been a struggle in a number of states. The combined benefits from state benefits and that $600 simulate totaled $72,000,000 going out this last week to Utahns. So, it's definitely going out to the people that are really in need during these unprecedented times.`”
Unemployment benefits in the state are issued from a trust fund. That fund is fed by taxes business owners pay for workers. Cole notes before the pandemic Utah’s trust fund was rated the 7th healthiest in the nation.
Typically, those on unemployment must prove they’ve been looking for work, however there is an exception for those who are furloughed.
“Over 80% of individuals who are currently on unemployment insurance, are what we call job attached,” Cole said. “Meaning that they have an employer who has said that they would like to bring that employee back as soon as business returns to normal. In that instance we consider that individual jobs attached and that job search requirement is waived.”
Cole shares that unemployment claims in the Wasatch Back have matched trends in the rest of the state. Last week Wasatch County saw 127 claims filed, while Summit County had 229 claims filed. That’s in comparison to the first week of the pandemic where Wasatch County had 386 claims and Summit County had 839.
“Throughout the course of the pandemic Wasatch and Summit County has sat right around the top seven to 10 counties in the state for unemployment insurance claims,” Cole continued. “But just like in the state overall, those have consistently begun to decrease over the last four weeks.”
Cole recommends those filing for unemployment insurance apply online and file accurately and completely as an incorrect claim will slow down your application. She also says the best chance to contact the department is to call early in the morning. More information can be found here.