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Coronavirus continues to infect regional economy

by Kathryn Tacke, Regional Economist Idaho Department of Labor

In the week ending May 2, 221 North Central Idaho workers filed unemployment insurance claims.

The number of people filing new claims during the week of May 2 was the smallest number since the crisis began, but still was more than double the new claims filed the week of March 14, the last week before the coronavirus crisis. Nez Perce County residents filed 114 new claims in the week ending May 2, while Latah County residents filed 67; Idaho County, 21; Clearwater County, 10; and Lewis County, 9.

In the first seven weeks of the coronavirus economic crisis (March 15 through May 2), 3,615 residents filed claims. The people who have filed claims in the last seven weeks make up 7.0 percent of the region's residents who had jobs before the coronavirus crisis.

The 3,615 new claims filed in the last seven weeks was nearly equal to the 3,666 claims filed in the entire year of 2019. In the region's two largest counties, new claims filed in the last seven weeks exceed all those filed in 2019.


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.

Accommodation and food services jobs account for almost 17 percent of total claims filed, while health care and social assistance jobs represent 14 percent and retail about 12 percent. The three sectors combined represent 43 percent of 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 26 percent of initial claims for the week. Women represent 53 percent.

Payouts for the week of April 26 - May 2 reached $14.2 million, a 3.9 percent increase over the previous week, and 8.8 times higher than the same week in 2019.

The Department of Labor has paid out $59,185,102 in benefits to laid-off Idaho workers between March 23 and May 2.

This does not include an additional $97,119,600 in $600 weekly benefit payments through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which was implemented in Idaho on April 24.

Weekly claims by county and industry are available on a data dashboard at https://lmi.idaho.gov/ui-weekly-claims.

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