‘Sharp escalation’ of unemployment claims in Utah

LOGAN – In a Thursday press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah Governor Gary Herbert said today’s unemployment numbers are “pretty grim.”

To put in context, the Governor said, “we’ve had more unemployment claims in the last two weeks than we had in the entire year of 2019. We’ve had a very sharp escalation of claims as people are losing their jobs or put on furloughs and leaving the employment force for a period of time of, who knows how long. The extra fear that it comes with is acute.”

According to Utah’s Department of Workforce Services, 28,560 new unemployment claims were filed this week throughout the state, a nearly 50% increase over the number of claims filed last week (19,690) which set a record at the time. The majority of those claims are in the customer service industry.

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Troy Lamb, a representative of the Department of Workforce Services in Logan, calls in to KVNU’s morning news to update the employment situation in Northern Utah. He typically discusses various services the department offers for job seekers and shares job openings. This week he emphasized services that are available to anyone who has been laid off.

“We’re still open, 8-5 Monday through Friday,” Lamb said Thursday. “We’re still helping out people the best we can. If you need temporary assistance, like food stamps or Medicaid, financial assistance or anything like that, you’re welcome to apply for all those benefits as well on our website jobs.utah.gov. It’s all there.”

Lamb said there are a variety of forms that can be filled out online to assist people who have recently lost their job. The department, located at 180 North 100 West in Logan, is also fully staffed to take calls, respond to emails and even help people who walk in for help.

“It is unfortunate that there are some businesses that are being impacted by COVID-19,” Lamb continued. “However, we’re here for you. We can help you the best we can, get you the support of services, get unemployment or food stamps in the meantime, some medical services, anything like that. Hopefully, it will be an easy process for you to get some help.”

Lamb said there are a number of businesses that need help during this pandemic. For someone who may have recently lost his or her job, Lamb said these jobs that are available can provide some form of employment until the economy begins to revive itself.

To see current job listings, or to file for unemployment benefits, visit jobs.utah.gov.

The department has also launched virtual workshops for individuals who have lost their jobs. The daily Rapid Response workshops last 30-45 minutes and provide information about how to apply for benefits and temporary financial assistance. The workshops are held Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. through April 10. Additional information, and registration, is available at jobs.utah.gov/covid19.

AUDIO: Hear Troy Lamb’s report on Thursday, April 2, 2020

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