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0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

Unemployment Claims Up 2400% Last Week

Utah DWS

A record number of unemployment claims were filed last week. Nearly 29,000 Utahn’s submitted claims to the Department of Workforce Services.

Director of Unemployment Insurance Kevin Burt says his staff is implementing strategies to respond to the historic volume of claims they’ve received in the past two weeks. He says the claims last week are 2400% more than the average weekly claims for 2019.

“We have seen almost the same number of claims filed than we did in all of 2019. With this historic volume there will be some disruption in some of our normal service level.”

The top three industries with the highest number of claims were food preparation and serving, office and administrative support and management. The counties that saw the highest number of individuals filing claims were Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Washington and Weber County respectively.

Burt says during the pandemic period, their goal is to be accurate and responsive and he asks for people to avoid calling the department and instead apply for benefits online.

“Make sure that you complete your application fully and accurately.  Please wait for us to contact you. There's not a need once you filed your claim to contact us. If there are any questions we have, we will contact you. Keep in mind contacting the unemployment insurance division can delay the processing and increase call wait times, so be as patient as possible. We know this benefit is necessary.” 
Burt says it’s critical for people to file a weekly claim.

Unemployment insurance is not just a single application. Every week you have to file your weekly claim. It only takes about five minutes. You start at the same page where you submitted your application. You click the link, file your weekly claim, and answer five questions to make attestations of whether you've worked or returned to work and whether you continue to meet the requirements of the program.”

The federal stimulus package, CARES ACT has passed but benefits are not yet available. They are waiting for guidance from the U. S. Department of Labor which will explain how the funds will be accessed by each state.

If employers and employees have questions about COVID-19 impacts, go to https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19.  The site will be updated whenever new information is released. 

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