Support Local Journalism!        

Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



State Employment Department hired new people and shifted staff to deal with expected massive increase in claims.

PMG FILE PHOTO - More than 70,000 people filed unemployment claims in mid-March. It was a record number. The state expects more as the economy grinds to a halt.More than 70,000 Oregonians filed for unemployment benefits in mid-March.

The state Employment Department reported Thursday, March 26, that it received more than 76,500 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits during the week of March 15. For the first three days of the week of March 22, initial claims have been tracking at record levels. It comes as a sharp increase from 4,900 initial claims filed during the week of March 8.

The Employment Department is taking several measures to meet the unprecedented need for unemployment benefits, which is largely due to reduced hours and layoffs related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Employment Department has been working for the past few weeks to boost the performance and stability of the state's online claims system. The agency also hired new employees and shifted staff, doubling the number of employees working on unemployment claims.

Department officials said the higher number of claims could lead to longer wait times, as the department works to gather and process the details factoring into each individual claimant's eligibility and weekly benefit amount.

Most of the unemployment claims (10,700) came from the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels and restaurants. About 2,100 claims came from health care workers. Another 1,400 came from the retail industry.

Multnomah, Washington and Lane counties had the largest number of processed claims during the week of March 15. The largest increases in initial claims occurred in Union and Clatsop counties.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!


- Dems propose a federally-funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program

- Economic Indicators for Clackamas County

- Key Oregon lawmakers outline plan to ease economic impact of virus

- Governor: Feds didn't send enough protective equipment

- State tempers glowing unemployment rate with COVID-10 uncertainties

- Oregon loses jobs in January, unemployment hits new low

- December unemployment rate lowest since 1976

- State unemployment rate dops in November

- October jobs numbers climb, unemployment held at 4.1%

- Oregon's unemployment rate follows three-year trend

Go to top