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Nearly 334,000 Oregon initial jobless claims filed; C.O. among hardest hit

Oregon Employment Dept.

About 12 percent of High Desert labor force has filed claims

SALEM, Ore. KTVZ) -- During the week ended April 18, the Oregon Employment Department received 36,700 initial claims for unemployment benefits. Since public health measures began the week starting March 15, Oregon has received about 333,700 initial claims for unemployment insurance, the agency said Thursday.

Helping Oregonians

The Employment Department continues processing initial and ongoing unemployment benefits claims at a record pace, resulting in $119 million in benefits paid to Oregonians during the week of April 12 to April 18. The agency continues expanding capacity for taking claims, with 520 employees now dedicated to taking unemployment claims, and additional contact center facility planning underway.

Employment Department efforts also continue toward launching the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Once open, the PUA program will provide the self-employed, contract workers and gig workers not already eligible, along with those not usually eligible due to too few hours or earnings, and those who were going to start work but could not, with benefits never before available.

Programming, testing and staff training for the PUA program are in progress. Upon successful testing, the Employment Department expects to open the program for applications by the end of April.

Additional information, program updates and metrics related to the Employment Department’s ongoing response to the unprecedented need for unemployment benefits can be found on the interactive dashboard of the agency’s COVID-19 page.

Through the first five weeks of the COVID stay-at-home order, around 13,930 initial claims for unemployment benefits have been processed for Central Oregon residents, representing roughly 12 percent of the regional labor force, Regional Economist Damon Runberg said.

The bulk of these claims were by Deschutes County residents (11,900). "Central Oregon remains one of the hardest hit regions by COVID layoffs, relative to the size of the labor force," Runberg added.

Initial Claims

The Employment Department has detailed information for 31,700 of the initial claims processed during the week of April 12 to April 18. The greatest number of initial claims continued to come from the leisure and hospitality sector (8,000), which includes hotels and restaurants. This reflects ongoing impacts of public health and safety measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the week of March 15 to March 21, there have been about 60,800 initial claims filed from leisure and hospitality.

Other sectors with the largest initial claims totals for the past five weeks include health care and social assistance (30,900) and retail trade (24,300). Every sector of the economy has seen increased claims activity, though. Initial claims totaled 16,500 in professional and business services, and 18,200 in manufacturing since the week of March 15 to March 21.

Multnomah (6,800), Washington (4,000) and Lane (2,900) counties had the largest number of claims during the week of April 12 to April 18. These three counties have consistently had the largest number of initial claims in recent weeks. More initial claims data by industry and area can be found on the COVID-19 page.


To file an online claim for unemployment benefits, go to or call 1-877-FILE-4-UI. For help finding jobs and training resources, contact your local WorkSource Oregon center or go to Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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