Unemployment Claims Continue to Rise

New information released by the Employment Department of Oregon shows that the state has received a total of 333,700 initial claims since March 15 for unemployment insurance, with 36,700 of these claims coming in during the week of April 12 to April 18.   

For Benton County specifically, a total of 602 claims were made in the week of April 12 to 18, bringing the total for the area to 3,353 claims made since March 15. The three most affected counties have consistently been Multnomah (46,181 total initial claims), Washington (23,928), and Lane (18,987).   

The total benefit payments paid to Oregonians stands at $119 million for the week of April 12 to April 18. According to the Employment Department’s report, they are also working on developing and soon launching the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which will “provide the self-employed, contract workers, and gig workers not already eligible, along with those not usually eligible due to too few hours or earnings, and those who were going to start work but could not, with benefits never before available.”   

The Employment Department hopes for this to launch by the end of April.   

The sector most affected in Oregon has been Leisure and Hospitality, with 60,823 total initial claims made since March 15. Following are health care and social assistance with 30,900 total initial claims, and retail trade with 24,300.   

By Cara Nixon