SALT LAKE CITY — The latest Utah unemployment numbers released Thursday show the pandemic is still taking a toll on the state's work force.
The number of total new claims filed for unemployment benefits in Utah was 5,628 for the week of August 16 to August 22, 2020 with a total of $22,919,481 of benefits paid. There were 60,773 continued claims filed during that same week – a 10-percent decline from the week prior.
The number of individuals who have not requested a benefit for two consecutive weeks as of August 15, 2020 was 7,537. A total of 7,412 met the same criteria during the previous week.
“What does this all mean? It means there are some promising trends, there are some people that appear to be returning to work, as seen by the continued claims reduction and less and less requests for the unemployment benefit, but we still see six times the number of people asking for the continued claims as compared to 2019 and five times the number of applications received compared to 2019,” said Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “It is very clear that COVID-19 continues to be very disruptive to employment and the demand for the benefit continues and were going to continue to meet that demand and help individuals with this unemployment benefit that are eligible.”
Unemployment is a week-to-week benefit and needs to be applied for every Sunday. Burt said starting this week, those seeking the benefit will be required to state whether or not they are actively seeking a job, and need to list four unique job contacts from that week.
Burt said the submissions are subject to random audit and recommended keeping a log of outreach.
The state continues to pursue the short term stimulus payment available through Lost Wages Assistance. Lost Wages Assistance is only immediately available for three weeks from July 26, 2020, through August 15, 2020. Individuals are eligible if their weekly unemployment benefit amount was at least $100, they were eligible for one of the standard unemployment programs and they were unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Benefits will be automatically calculated and distributed mid-September based on unemployment claims received; individuals do not need to call or apply separately for this benefit.