Weekly unemployment claims spike to nearly 4,000

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Weekly unemployment claims spike to nearly 4,000

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 3:17pm -- tim

The spike in December represents typical post-holiday layoffs.

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont unemployment insurance claims spiked as expected last week. The state had lagged well behind the federal government in the number claims just the prior week. But with Governor Scott's order to at first close all restaurants and now all non-essential workers have been ordered home, the claims are expected to mirror the spike in federal numbers, which increased by more than 3 million.

The impact on jobs from the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Vermont on weekly unemployment claims is expected to be profound and the federal aid package will more than double current UI payments in Vermont as soon as it can be implemented.

Initial Vermont claims for the week of March 21, 2020, were 3,784, up 3,125 from last week and up 3,285 from last year. (The previous week, as of March 14, initial claims were 661 and only 20 more than they were at the same time last year.)

Altogether 8,594 new and continuing claims were filed, an increase of 3,039 from a week ago and 2,948 than a year ago.

Nationwide, according to the US Labor Department for the week ending March 21, initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to 3.28 million up from 282,000 the previous week.

According to CNBC, "The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982."

The 4-week moving average rose 27,500 to 1,731,000 claims, the highest level since January 2018.

For UI claims last week in Vermont by industry, Services, which typically accounts for most claims, represented 77 percent of all claims (2,914), with virtually all the new claims coming in this category. All other categories were also up in actual numbers, but by percentage look much smaller. Construction claims were at 3 percent for the week (114), which in total terms was about the same as the previous week (112). Manufacturing was 5 percent (189) versus last week at 8 percent percent (53). Trade saw a similar increase, with 5 percent of the total. The Miscellaneous category includes many types of seasonal or temporary workers and represented 10 percent or 378 workers.

Vermont's unemployment rate for January held at 2.4 percent. Vermont's rate is tied for second lowest in the nation. SEE STORYThe US rate in January rose one-tenth to 3.6 percent. The Unemployment and Jobs Report for February is scheduled to be released on March 27.

Stories:

January tax revenues ahead of targets to start year

Businesses to see double-digit rate decrease in workers’ comp insurance in 2020

Tax revenues finish year nearly $60 million above targets

UI tax rates for employers fell again on July 1, 2018, as claims continue to be lower than previous projections. Individual employers' reduced taxable wage rates will vary according to their experience rating; however, the rate reduction will lower the highest UI tax rate from 7.7 percent to 6.5 percent. The lowest UI tax rate will see a reduction from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent.

Also effective July 1, 2018, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit will be indexed upwards to 57% of the average weekly wage. The current maximum weekly benefit amount is $466, which will increase to $498. Both changes are directly tied to the change in the Tax Rate Schedule.

Vermont's minimum wage rose to $10.78 on January 1, 2019.

The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/. Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc

NOTE: Employment (nonfarm payroll) - A count of all persons who worked full- or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period which included the 12th of the month. Because this count comes from a survey of employers, persons who work for two different companies would be counted twice. Therefore, nonfarm payroll employment is really a count of the number of jobs, rather than the number of persons employed. Persons may receive pay from a job if they are temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, or labor-management dispute. This count is based on where the jobs are located, regardless of where the workers reside, and is therefore sometimes referred to as employment "by place of work." Nonfarm payroll employment data are collected and compiled based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor. This count was formerly referred to as nonagricultural wage and salary employment.