Idaho sees 5,800 new weekly initial claims because of COVID-19

| May 21, 2020 9:46 AM

A total of 5,800 new initial claims were filed in Idaho for unemployment benefits during the week ending May 16, the same level filed the previous week, according to Idaho Department of Labor officials on Thursday.

It was the first week new claims numbers held steady after six consecutive weeks of declines. Continued claims — the number of people who requested a benefit payment — fell to 60,121, a decline of 8 percent from the previous week.

Accommodations and food services continued to account for almost 15 percent of total claims filed during the week. Manufacturing represented the second largest group at 13 percent. Retail and health care and social assistance, represented 11 percent of claims filed and ranked third and fourth respectively. Combined, these four sectors account for nearly 50 percent of all new claims filed during the week.

COVID-19 layoffs continue to affect people of all ages, with young people under age 25 representing almost 20 percent of initial claims for the week. Male claimants represented 52 percent of claimants — a slight majority between the two genders.

Regular state unemployment benefit payouts for the week of May 10-16 reached $12.1 million, a 9 percent decrease over the previous week, but 9.4 times higher than the same week in 2019. Total CARES Act payments increased 55 percent for the week of May 10-16 from $29.9 million to $46.3 million. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance exceeded $5 million in the first full week of payments.

Laid-off Idaho workers have filed 136,901 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the nine weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency — 2.3 times the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019.

As of May 16, total benefit payments attributed to COVID-19 layoffs reached $240 milion.

Weekly claims by county and industry are available on Idaho’s claim data dashboard at https://lmi.idaho.gov/ui-weekly-claims .