Category Archives: COVID-19

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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Idaho Industries Most Affected by COVID-19

COVID-19 is having substantial economic impacts and causing significant job losses as non-essential businesses close. In Idaho, unemployment insurance claims spiked following implementation of Idaho’s stay-home order, with nearly 110,000 total claims filed in the first five weeks following the statewide emergency order. Since then, weekly initial claims averages are roughly 18 times greater than the weekly average in 2019.

While it will take time to understand the full economic impact of COVID-19, it is not too early to detect job loss patterns. Some industries are losing more jobs than others, and while some industry losses are not surprising — like movie theaters, restaurants and salons — others may be counterintuitive. Despite the strain on some parts of the health care industry to treat COVID-19, health care workers are losing their jobs because patients are putting off routine medial care and elective surgeries. Other people are avoiding emergency rooms and urgent care clinics due to fears of contracting COVID-19.

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COVID-19 and Idaho’s Economy – The First Six Weeks

COVID-19 slammed Idaho’s economy in March, causing the most sudden and largest job losses ever. At first, most of the job losses occurred in the tourism industry, as fear of COVID-19 reduced international travel, then domestic travel. Then conventions were canceled, schools closed, classes moved online and the dominoes kept falling. Every day, more businesses shut down or laid off its workers. On March 25, Gov. Brad Little issued a statewide 21-day stay-home order and required non-essential businesses to close.

In the six weeks since the coronavirus began affecting Idaho’s economy, 117,811 claims were filed — 13.5 percent of all Idaho residents who were employed before the crisis.

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Idaho’s Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19 Climb Above 125,000

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits from workers laid off due to COVID-19 reached 7,495 during the week ending May 2, a 15 percent decline from the previous week.

Idaho workers have filed 125,306 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the seven weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency – 2.1 times the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019.

It was the fifth 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 71,794.

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