Thursday, April 30, 2020

Initial Claims and Additional Unemployment Benefits in Oregon

During the week of April 19 to April 25, the Oregon Employment Department received 28,500 initial claims for unemployment benefits. Since public health and safety measures began the week starting March 15, Oregon has received more than 362,200 initial claims for unemployment insurance.

Initial Claims
For each of the past three weeks, more initial claims have been processed than received. The Employment Department has detailed information for 29,700 of the 46,700 claims processed during the week of April 19 to April 25.

The greatest number of initial claims continued to come from the accommodation and food services sector (5,100). Since March 15th, there have been about 59,600 initial claims filed in this industry. Other sectors with the largest initial claims totals over the past six weeks include health care and social assistance (35,300) and retail trade (28,700). Every sector of the economy has seen increased claims activity though. Initial claims totaled 22,500 in manufacturing and 16,000 in construction since March 15th.

Multnomah (6,200), Washington (3,600), and Clackamas (3,000) counties had the largest number of claims during the week of April 19 to April 25. More initial claims data by industry and area can be found on the COVID-19 page.

Helping Oregonians
The Employment Department has processed three out of every four initial claims received between March 15 and April 25, and continues expanding its processing ability. The agency now has 610 employees dedicated to processing unemployment claims. A new contact center is expected to open in May. Current contact centers have expanded call hours from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, are giving call-backs to those with unprocessed claims, and employees continue processing claims seven days per week.

After starting up the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (“the $600”) and the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for self-employed, contract, and gig workers, the Employment Department is now working towards implementing the third piece of the CARES Act. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program extends benefits for up to 13 weeks for those who have run out of benefits and remain out of work due to COVID-19 closures.

Read the full press release here.

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