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New and Continued Unemployment Claims Declined Last Week

The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced  Wednesday  that both new and continued unemployment claims declined last week. There were 5,084 new regular unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending May 30, 2020. This is a decrease of  12.19 percent from the previous week, when 5,790 initial claims were filed.

The highest number of new claims filed during the pandemic was 26,539 claims during the week ending April 4. There were 1,079 new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed last week compared to 1,229 the prior week, a decrease of 12.2 percent.

Initial claims are filed by individuals to request a determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. NDOL processes initial unemployment insurance claims and, if an individual meets eligibility criteria, benefits are paid for each week of continued unemployment. Weekly certifications are required in order to claim continued weeks of unemployment and receive payment.

The highest counts of initial claims were in health care and social assistance (455), which decreased 23 percent from the prior week (592). Most industries had declines in initial claims from the prior week.  Increases were seen in management of companies and enterprises (162 percent), finance and insurance (11 percent), real estate and rental and leasing (9 percent) and educational services (4 percent).  There were 57,397 continued weeks of regular unemployment claimed last week.  This is a decrease from the prior week (59,528), a difference of 2,131 or 3.6 percent.  {Continued weeks refer to the individual weeks of unemployment claimed after a person applies for benefits. }

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the highest number of continued weeks was in the second week of 2010 when there were 26,075 continued weeks claimed.  There were 17,299 continued weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimed last week compared to 20,348 the week prior, a decrease of 14.98 percent.

The majority of the top 20 occupations with the largest amount of claimed weeks saw a decline in claims.  Since May 9, the occupations with the largest percentage drop in weeks claimed are dental assistants (down 51 percent), dental hygienists ( down 50 percent) and hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists (down 39 percent).  Total benefits paid last week were nearly $64.2 million, including regular benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments and payments under the additional 13 weeks of benefits available through the CARES Act (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation). Last week also saw 5,926 new individuals receive benefit payments.

Of the regular unemployment claims paid since March 1, 85 percent were paid within 28 days; 75 percent were paid within 21 days.  There are currently around 8,637 claims yet to be processed.

 Any worker in a non-paid status due to COVID-19 may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment claims in Nebraska are filed online at NEworks.nebraska.gov. The NEworks mobile app is available to download free.

An additional 13 weeks of benefits are available under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC).  This federal benefit is for workers who have exhausted regular benefits after July 1, 2019.  To apply for this benefit, reopen your claim and continue to file weekly claims at NEworks.nebraska.gov.  The earliest week that can be claimed is the week ending April 4.


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