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More than 126,000 Utahns have been out of work because of COVID-19

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Posted at 11:05 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 13:11:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 126,000 Utahns have been out of work since mid-March, when the state began tracking numbers related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The numbers, provided to FOX 13 by the Utah Department of Workforce Services, show 126,147 people filed for unemployment benefits since businesses started closing as a result of novel coronavirus. The agency said those are people who had jobs and either lost them or had hours reduced as a result of the pandemic.

In contrast, the Utah Department of Workforce Services said 63,000 people filed for unemployment in all of 2019.

An additional 7,000 people are considered self-employed or "gig workers," who don't fall into the traditional unemployment state fund (fully employed Utahns pay into the state fund unlike self-employed or gig economy employees).

The numbers fluctuate as people who have lost work find new jobs and they drop on and off the state's unemployment systems. Anyone who has lost a job as a result of COVID-19 is urged to seek unemployment benefits at jobs.utah.gov.

The state has pumped more resources into boosting unemployment benefits as the state seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The Utah State Legislature passed a bill waiving some requirements. The state also dropped a controversial work requirement for Medicaid coverage.