Alabama unemployment insurance claims increase nearly tenfold as coronavirus hits economy


(WRBL) — As businesses close and workers remain home to shelter from potential coronavirus infection, Alabama’s Department of Labor shows a dramatic increase in unemployment insurance claim filings in just the past week.

For the week of March 14, Alabama’s Unemployment Insurance “Initial Claims” came to a total of 1,824, with the roster of top five industries with filings as Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services; Manufacturing; Construction; Retail Trade; and Health Care and Social Services.

Just a week later, that number had gone up nearly tenfold to 10,892, with the bulk of known filings coming from Accommodation and Food Services. The change in demographics is dramatic in terms of percentage and the gap between industries.

While the week of March 14’s claims were mainly under 200 individuals per industry, the week of March 21 topped off with workers in Accommodation and Food Services, INA or workers coming in as temporary immigrants, Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Manufacturing. Food Service workers took the lead count in the range of filings with more than 3,000 alone in just that week.

The largest portion of claims in Alabama was filed by residents of Jefferson County, where the biggest percentage of the state’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been.

There were 2,167 claims filed by Jefferson County residents in the week of March 21, compared to 252 the week before.

The number of coronavirus cases confirmed continues to grow, and while many workers are staying home, national leaders have passed a new aid package in the Senate to provide relief to workers and businesses hit particularly hard by COVID-19 closures.

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