Oregon unemployment claims reach almost 270,000 in three weeks, but other states see much worse

Job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic and response are set to easily top those from the 'Great Recession' of 2008, according to the latest figures from the Oregon Employment Department.

Posted: Apr 9, 2020 11:24 AM
Updated: Apr 9, 2020 5:57 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Over a period of just three weeks, initial unemployment claims have reached almost 270,000 in Oregon, according to the latest numbers from the Oregon Employment Department (OED). Yet numbers from across the nation demonstrate that it is one of the least affected states in the U.S.

By comparison, Oregon saw 147,800 net job losses over the period of the 'Great Recession' that began with 2008's housing crash, OED said.

During the week of March 29 alone, Oregon received 100,700 initial claims, breaking the records set by the preceding two weeks. OED says that it's still "rapidly adding" staff to take on the influx of new claims, and has been processing them at a "record pace." Still, there have been numerous reports from laid-off Oregonians unable to get through on jammed phone lines or running into other snags with their claims.

According to OED, the additional CARES Act unemployment payments of $600 will start going through Oregon's system "by the end of this week."


RELATED: Southern Oregon continued to create jobs through February, then the coronavirus happened


The state paid $28 million in benefits to Oregonians during the week of March 29, and officials expect that to rise dramatically as the CARES Act benefit starts to kick in.

OED also said that it is working to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which would allow the self-employed, contract workers, and gig workers to become eligible for benefits.

The agency is still asking anyone who can file a claim online to do so. Although OED has extended its phone hours on weekdays and added more staff, it says that wait times have averaged 106 minutes on claims phone lines.

Yes, it's bad . . . but it could be worse

According to an updated study by the financial site WalletHub, Oregon actually has had the second smallest overall increase in unemployment due to coronavirus in the U.S.

Though Oregon saw a 1167.82 percent increase in initial unemployment claims year over year, WalletHub found this to be the lowest state-level increase in the U.S.

Oregon had a 743.7 percent increase from the first week of the year to the week of March 30, and this was the fifth lowest increase in the nation.

WalletHub found that New York, one of the states hardest hit by coronavirus, saw a 670 percent increase in initial claims from the beginning of the year to the 14th week — far better than the national average of 2,193 percent.

The states hammered hardest by unemployment, according to WalletHub's report, were Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virgina, Georgia, and Mississippi.

“States should aggressively focus on helping the companies in the most need," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "The federal response will include sending checks to most citizens, even those whose income has not been affected by the coronavirus. States can use a more targeted approach to divert resources to the companies affected the most, thus having maximum impact for the money."

Source: WalletHub

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313161

Reported Deaths: 3594
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51245642
Washington34995276
Marion32577393
Clackamas26570271
Lane23989246
Jackson20977257
Deschutes16623102
Umatilla12602125
Douglas10712188
Linn1046886
Josephine8659165
Yamhill744999
Klamath643491
Polk623570
Malheur479467
Benton461927
Coos412069
Columbia324237
Jefferson313746
Lincoln276330
Union272737
Wasco239039
Crook212338
Clatsop211725
Tillamook181523
Baker174421
Morrow167921
Curry166817
Hood River163035
Harney78916
Grant7558
Lake6768
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4644566

Reported Deaths: 68019
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144512125852
Riverside3579884804
San Diego3495814009
San Bernardino3472035506
Orange3146225354
Sacramento1503072089
Santa Clara1405641841
Fresno1358611888
Kern1358421515
Alameda1162141329
Ventura976901120
San Joaquin973871615
Contra Costa95727924
Stanislaus806991234
Tulare72969896
San Mateo52239607
San Francisco51907605
Monterey49465565
Solano44151312
Santa Barbara43112500
Sonoma39441378
Merced39370535
Placer36487364
Imperial34261755
Kings30124284
San Luis Obispo28300313
Madera21707258
Butte21307230
Shasta20683276
Santa Cruz20151211
Yolo19143239
Marin17106242
El Dorado16004127
Sutter13094153
Napa1226895
Yuba926061
Nevada847685
Humboldt829587
Tehama823784
San Benito709067
Mendocino685575
Lassen637627
Tuolumne615393
Lake603687
Amador492259
Glenn398030
Siskiyou389541
Calaveras342266
Del Norte336034
Colusa290918
Inyo166539
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa99712
Trinity72010
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1650
Alpine1000
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