Idaho’s Weekly Initial Claims Due to COVID-19 Exceed 100,000


For Immediate Release: April 23, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Laid off Idaho workers filed 108,984 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the first five weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Initial claims reached 13,023 during the week ending April 18, a 30 percent decline from the previous week – but still 12 times greater than all of 2019’s weekly average.

It was the second week the number of new claims fell, while continued claims – the number of valid claims filed by people who are eligible, currently claiming benefits and still unable to return to work – reached 67,722.

Health care and social assistance jobs represented 19 percent of all new claims, followed by accommodations and food services, and retail at almost 15 percent each. Combined, the three sectors represent nearly half – 48.6 percent – of the total new claims filed during the week.

COVID-19 layoffs continue to affect people of all ages, with young people under age 25 representing more than 25 percent of initial claims for the week. Women represent 56 percent.

The Department of Labor paid out $31.3 million in benefits to laid-off Idaho workers between March 23 and April 18. Payouts for the week of April 12 – 18 reached $12.8 million, a 33.9 percent increase over the previous week, and seven times higher than the same week in 2019.

Weekly claims by county and industry are available on a data dashboard at

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