Category Archives: COVID-19

Labor Adds Phone Lines and Agents to Help Answer Claimant Calls

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 29, 2020
Media Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102

The Idaho Department of Labor has contracted with a call center to provide additional agents for claimants who want to talk to someone about their claim beginning Monday. The goal is for claimants to eventually experience shorter hold times.

All claimants who call Labor will be directed to call a new toll-free number – (833) 410-1009 – where an additional 30 people will be available to answer calls, take new claims over the phone and unlock accounts, among other tasks. These additional resources free up Labor staff to handle more complex issues with claims.

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Idaho’s Weekly Initial Claims Decrease 18% Over Previous Week

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Darlene Carnopis, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3439

Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits from workers laid off due to COVID-19 continued to decline, dropping 18 percent from 5,800 for the week ending May 16, to 4,727 for the week ending May 23.

Continued claims – the number of people who requested a benefit payment – continued to decline for the third consecutive week, falling to 56,692, down 5.7 percent from the previous week.

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Idaho Unemployment Reaches Record High of 11.5 Percent in April

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 22, 2020
Information Contact: Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Nonfarm Jobs Fell 10.4 Percent

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment jumped to 11.5 percent and non-farm payrolls lost 79,500 jobs in April due to the effects of COVID-19.

April’s rate increased nine percentage points from a record low 2.5 percent in March to an all-time high that exceeded record-setting rates of 10.2 percent in December 1982 and the Great Recession peak rate of 9.6 percent in June 2009.

Total employment dropped by 83,842 to 788,816, a decrease of 9.6 percent, while the number of unemployed Idahoans grew by 81,001 – nearly five-fold – to 102,975.

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Idaho Sees 5,800 New Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 21, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

A total of 5,800 new initial claims were filed in Idaho for unemployment benefits during the week ending May 16, the same level filed the previous week.

It was the first week new claims numbers held steady after six consecutive weeks of declines. Continued claims – the number of people who requested a benefit payment  – fell to 60,121, a decline of 8 percent from the previous week.

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Idaho Labor Program Helps Support Food Bank, Interfaith Sanctuary During COVID-19

Overwhelmed food banks, pantries and shelters across the state have found some help from the Idaho Department of Labor’s work experience program, and now more than 15 people across the state are working at various locations, learning job skills and helping people in need while earning a paycheck.

The idea was formulated when the Idaho Office of Emergency Management (OEM) contacted the Labor Department looking for solutions to replace Idaho National Guard members who had been helping food bank workers keep up with increased demand at pickup sites because of COVID-19.

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One-Third of Idaho Jobs Can Be Performed by Teleworking

-Data suggests jobs performed at home pay more-

With social distancing measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, many workers are transitioning to working from home. One in three Idaho jobs are fully suited for telework. The rest are most vulnerable to unemployment during a pandemic. As Idaho’s economy rapidly adapts to remote work, access to high-speed broadband – particularly in the more rural parts of the state – is critical.

The Rise of Teleworking

The full extent of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still to be determined, but early signs show the impact on jobs to be significant. As of May 2, 2020, the state of Idaho recorded a record high 125,306 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the seven weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency. Nationally, the economy lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, bumping the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent.

Along with the unprecedented job losses is a rapid trend towards remote work. To comply with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, employees who can are increasingly being allowed to work from home. Latest trends in online job postings show that while online job postings overall have fallen in recent months, postings specifically labeled as work-from-home are on the rise. The number of new Idaho work-from-home job postings jumped 49 percent from February to March 2020 and 2.4 percent from March to April. In contrast, Idaho job postings overall declined nearly 40 percent from March to April alone.

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Idaho Sees 5,795 New Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020
Information Contact: Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Salvador Vazquez, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3218

Initial claims reached 5,795 during the week ending May 9, a 23 percent decline from the previous week.

Laid-off Idaho workers filed 131,101 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the eight weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency – 2.2 times the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019.

It was the sixth week the number of new claims fell, while continued claims – the number of people who claimed benefits – fell to 65,478, a decline of 9 percent from the previous week.

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Job Postings Drop in Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the nation, tracking its impact on the labor market in real-time is necessary, yet challenging, as data to capture the rapid changes occurring on a daily basis is rarely available.

Weekly initial unemployment insurance claims data is currently the best real-time economic indicator available to capture the supply side of the labor market – it gives some indication of how many people are newly unemployed every week. Job postings are another important indicator providing valuable insight into the demand side of the job market and how employers are responding to the crisis. Continue reading

Idaho’s Small Businesses Feel Impact of COVID-19

The second half of March saw an unprecedented surge in the number of unemployment claims filed in Idaho. During the week ending March 28 alone, the state recorded more than 32,000 initial claims – more than 3,000 percent greater than the number of claims just two weeks prior. Between March 15 and April 25, Idahoans filed 117,811 new claims.

A significant number of the jobless claims can be attributed to closures of restaurants, a vast majority of which are small enterprises with under 50 employees. According to the 2019 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, 94 percent of all restaurants in the state have fewer than 50 employees, and these small enterprises account for 77 percent of industry employment.

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Labor Begins Making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Payments

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 11, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102

The Idaho Department of Labor is now making payments for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to individuals who are unemployed because of COVID-19 and are not eligible for regular benefits.

Payments will be made to workers who are not monetarily eligible for regular benefits and have no pending issues on their claim.

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