The country’s surge in unemployment continued another week with more than 6.5 million new applications for unemployment insurance. The state’s initial jobless claims are just under 134,000.
DWD Chief of Staff Josh Richardson says the agency’s IT staff still need more time to build an electronic system to open up benefits for self-employed people and workers with limited work history.
The Department of Workforce Development still has no deadline for when unemployment benefits, authorized by federal law, will reach self-employed Hoosiers.
DWD’s Commissioner Fred Payne says staff are working to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program as soon as possible, but he still has no definite timeline.
Tens of thousands of Hoosiers lost their jobs due to measures that help prevent COVID-19. The sheer amount and speed of layoffs are putting enormous strain on the unemployment insurance system.
A federal law took effect Wednesday requiring some employers to give paid sick and family leave to workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoosier businesses covered by the law will have to comply or face penalties.
Blakeman anticipates the state will continue to see unusually high initial claim numbers next week as large companies turn furloughs into layoffs.
Josh Richardson is the chief of staff at the Department of Workforce Development. He says the agency is doing everything it can to prepare based on past disaster unemployment programs.
Workers are asking for personal protective equipment and better pay. Some workers in the state are joining the strike, but feel conflicted about leaving vulnerable people without groceries during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed to receive unemployment benefits last week, the most ever in one week according to the Department of Labor. That number includes almost 54,000 Hoosiers.