Oregon Unemployment Claims Rise by 3200% Amidst Outbreak

  As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Oregon has experienced a 3200% increase in new unemployment claims as of Tuesday, March 17. On that day alone, 18,500 people filed jobless claims, which is a substantial rise from the average of 570 new claims a day in the four weeks prior.  

Restaurants and retailers have been closing their doors as a result of Gov. Kate Brown’s recent orders to shut down to combat the spread of the virus. Restaurants like McMenamins and retailers like Nike have had to lay off thousands of employees as a result. Many have turned to filing as unemployed, desperate for a source of income.   

On Wednesday, to assist in this growing problem, the state’s Employment Department ordained new rules that will give employers more flexibility when providing unemployment benefits to those who are no longer working due to the coronavirus outbreak.   

If the unemployment rate continues to rise, it could have the potential to be worse than the Great Recession of 2008. Some experts say the rate could even rise to 20%, 8.1% higher than the peak of the Great Recession, meaning about 500,000 people would be searching for work amidst the outbreak.   

By Cara Nixon