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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.

Confirmed Cases: 4474

Reported Deaths: 159
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah122462
Marion101126
Washington75518
Clackamas33312
Deschutes1330
Umatilla1243
Linn1219
Polk10012
Lane803
Yamhill757
Jackson690
Benton575
Jefferson460
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos320
Wasco291
Douglas280
Hood River280
Lincoln230
Josephine231
Columbia160
Morrow120
Curry70
Crook70
Union60
Tillamook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122168

Reported Deaths: 4444
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles596922532
Riverside8303345
San Diego7798283
Orange6783165
San Bernardino5650209
Alameda364197
Santa Clara2850144
San Francisco264443
Imperial249330
Kern246245
San Mateo224484
Tulare208392
Fresno194437
Santa Barbara171414
Contra Costa154738
Sacramento149058
Ventura119035
Kings11876
San Joaquin102436
Stanislaus79230
Monterey62110
Sonoma5934
Solano55922
Marin52517
Merced3107
San Luis Obispo2881
Placer2599
Santa Cruz2192
Yolo21624
Madera1293
Napa1263
Humboldt1044
El Dorado980
San Benito962
Butte601
Nevada491
Sutter482
Del Norte470
Shasta404
Mono371
Mendocino330
Yuba311
Lake300
Inyo201
Glenn170
Calaveras160
Mariposa161
Amador100
Siskiyou90
Colusa70
Tehama61
Tuolumne50
Lassen50
Plumas40
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
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Hi: 78° Lo: 50°
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Brookings
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