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W.Va. Jobless Claims Top 250,000 Over 10 weeks

CHARLESTON – Claims for unemployment compensation benefits since the start of the coronavirus pandemic came in at five times the number of unemployment claims for all of 2019, according to WorkForce West Virginia.

Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia, gave an update Wednesday on unemployment claims during Gov. Jim Justice’s daily coronavirus briefing at the State Capitol Building.

According to WorkForce West Virginia, the agency received 250,000 unemployment claims over the last 10 weeks, roughly since the end of March — an average of 40,000 claims per month.

“To put that into perspective, all of 2019 we took 46,861, so in the past 10 weeks we’ve taken five times more claims than we did the entire year of 2019,” Adkins said.

According to Workforce, West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped from 6.1 percent in March to 15.2 percent while the national unemployment rate was 14.7 percent.

Justice issued a series of executive orders starting March 17 when the state reported its first case of COVID-19. Justice ordered the closing of bars and restaurants except for carryout, delivery and curbside service, following by the closure of gyms and recreational facilities. By March 23, Justice issued an executive order requiring all non-essential businesses to close or have employees work from home.

In between March 17 and March 23, Justice issued an executive order requiring WorkForce West Virginia to provide unemployment benefits at the maximum level for people who lost their jobs, were furloughed or who had their hours reduced due to coronavirus shutdown

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