Study: Indiana, Kentucky unemployment hit hard by COVID-19

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(WalletHub) As the U.S. economy has slowed to a crawl due to COVID-19, countless businesses have shut their doors in accordance with the resulting social distancing policies. Consequently, many businesses have furloughed or laid off employees, and 22 million Americans have found themselves temporarily or permanently out of a job since the week of March 16.

But not all states have experienced the same levels of unemployment due to the pandemic.

According to WalletHub, as of last week, Indiana had the 8th biggest increase in unemployment. Kentucky was right behind at #9.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana has had the 6th biggest increase in unemployment. Kentucky is at #8.

Source: WalletHub

Despite the fact that Illinois has some of the highest number of coronavirus cases, the state is at #39 when it comes to unemployment impact.

More and more people are typing, searching and filing for unemployment claims.

“What we’re noticing are not just record high claims volumes, but off the chart record high claims volumes,” says Josh Richardson, Chief of Staff for the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development.

The WalletHub study has Indiana and Kentucky as two of the ten most affected since the pandemic started. Richardson says weekly claims, which were more than 118,000 last week, are much higher than the past record during the great recession.

“Prior to this coronavirus situation, the single highest week in Indiana history for initial claims filings in one week was 28,000 in one week,” he said, recalling the past high in the late 2000s.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports nearly 116,000 initial jobless claims were filed in Kentucky. Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne says their call center took several hundred thousand calls this month and are using call back and other new features to help with their response time.

“We are seeing the metrics trending in the right direction for our call center, but one thing we know is those metrics aren’t moving fast enough and that not enough Hoosiers are feeling the positive effects of those metrics,” he said.

Richardson says it may take a while for the agency to dig out of the high volume of claims filed.

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(This story was originally published on April 16, 2020)

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