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Unemployment insurance filings soar nationally and in Utah

Posted at 7:11 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 21:11:13-04

3.2 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week, meaning more than thirty-three million workers have filed for unemployment insurance benefits since March 15, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.

In Utah, 13,223 workers added their names to the unemployment rolls, split between the traditional program funded in part by the state and the new pandemic program meant for gig workers, part-time workers, small business owners, and others who don’t meet the requirements of the long-standing benefit program.

Many of those new applicants will join the ranks of weekly filers that numbered 107,711.

The director of Utah’s unemployment insurance program, Kevin Burt, said he hopes the pandemic’s sudden halt to economic activity will lead to a sudden start as well.

“During the pandemic what we hope is some of the restrictions have paused the economy, but as the restrictions are lifted we'll be able to see a lot of people return to their former employer and as quickly as they came on they fall off of the unemployment benefit.” Burt said.