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28,500 Oregonians filed initial jobless claims last week

Oregon Employment Department
Oregon Employment Dept.

Total is now more than 362,000 claims since COVID-19 pandemic began

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- During the week of April 19 to April 25, the Oregon Employment Department received 28,500 initial claims for unemployment benefits, the agency said Thursday.

Since public health and safety measures began the week starting March 15, Oregon has received more than 362,200 initial claims for unemployment insurance.

The Employment Department said it has processed three out of every four initial claims received between March 15 and April 25, and continues expanding its processing ability.

The agency now has 610 employees dedicated to processing unemployment claims. A new contact center is expected to open in May. Current contact centers have expanded call hours from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, are giving call-backs to those with unprocessed claims, and employees continue processing claims seven days per week.

After starting up the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (“the $600”) and the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for self-employed, contract, and gig workers, the Employment Department is now working towards implementing the third piece of the CARES Act. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program extends benefits for up to 13 weeks for those who have run out of benefits and remain out of work due to COVID-19 closures.

Initial Claims

For each of the past three weeks, more initial claims have been processed than received. The Employment Department has detailed information for 29,700 of the 46,700 claims processed during the week of April 19 to April 25.

The greatest number of initial claims continued to come from the accommodation and food services sector (5,100).  Since March 15th, there have been about 59,600 initial claims filed in this industry. Other sectors with the largest initial claims totals over the past six weeks include health care and social assistance (35,300) and retail trade (28,700).

Every sector of the economy has seen increased claims activity, though. Initial claims totaled 22,500 in manufacturing and 16,000 in construction since March 15th.

Multnomah (6,200), Washington (3,600), and Clackamas (3,000) counties had the largest number of claims during the week of April 19 to April 25. More initial claims data by industry and area can be found on the COVID-19 page.

Central Oregon continues to see the number of residents on unemployment insurance grow, Regional Economist Damon Runberg said. The bulk of the unemployment claims processed across the region are from Deschutes County residents (13,420 initial claims processed), which represents 14 percent of the labor force.

For a more detailed picture of the characteristics of the COVID-19 unemployed, you can read this article that continues to be updated weekly:

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: Government-politics

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