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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.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
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