Nearly 82,000 Vermonters out of work since state of emergency declared last month

Editor’s note: This article was updated 2:50 p.m. April 24.

Jobless claims in Vermont have reached 81,947 since Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency last month and ordered residents to restrict business activities and “stay home” in response to the coronavirus.

According to the Vermont Department of Labor’s weekly unemployment insurance claims report, the number initial jobless claims processed for the week ending April 11 totaled 9,662, which are on top of 16,474 claims from the week of April 4 and 14,633 the week prior to that.

Supplemental information provided by the Unemployment Insurance Division notes that while 9,662 claims were processed this week,13,511 total claims were filed. Labor Department staffers continue to be backlogged in processing applications due to the high volume of layoffs in the state.

The supplemental information also states the department has processed 78,098 claims since March 15. When adding the 3,849 filed-but-not-processed claims for this week, the total unemployment claims amount to 81,947.

Prior initial unemployment insurance claims that have continued on in the current week reached 31,204, according to the Thursday jobs report.

The U.S. Labor Department on Thursday reported 5.2 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims for the week, bringing nationwide job losses to 22 million since governors began shutting down their state economies in March.

Number of deaths

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 35 people in Vermont have died with COVID-19 symptoms. State Health Department guidelines allow doctors to list coronavirus as the cause of death with or without a positive lab test result.

State health officials have administered 11,507 tests and confirmed 768 total cases. About 30 people are currently being monitored, while 803 individuals have completed monitoring. Approximately half of all cases — 377 — are located in Chittenden County.

Comparison with flu and pneumonia

For the three-week period ending March 28, Vermont had 30 people die of pneumonia while six others died from seasonal flu. Weekly statistics are tracked by the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System.

U.S. COVID-19 deaths

The U.S. coronavirus death total hit 27,012 Thursday — 4,141 of those deaths were attributed to COVID-19 without a positive lab test result. Nearly 43 percent of the deaths — 11,586 — occurred in New York.

The CDC estimates that between 24,000 and 63,000 Americans have died of seasonal flu since Oct. 1.

Scott promises fix for slow delivery of unemployment money

Michael Harrington, acting commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor, said the state is doing everything it can to expand its claims-processing capabilities, adding 30 additional staff and using a third-party organization to help carry the caseload. Between 20,000 and 30,000 unemployed Vermonters are not yet receiving benefits.

Scott, speaking at a press conference Thursday, said he would “accept full responsibility for this.” He added that if the problem isn’t solved within days the state will have to come up with new solutions.

Some states ready to open up again

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is preparing to open the Lone Star State for business, but in stages. The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware are likewise teaming up for the reopening of their economies and schools.

To ensure public health as they plan to re-open, Massachusetts, Utah and North Dakota have been looking into “test-and-trace” programs meant to be able to quickly identify and track those who may still carry the virus.

President Donald Trump late Thursday afternoon released White House national guidelines for getting America back to work and individual mobility.

In the past five weeks, dating to the last week before the economic shutdowns began, the initial claims for unemployment for Vermont have been:

• Week ending April 11: 9,662
• Week ending April 4: 16,474
• Week ending March 28: 14,633
• Week ending March 21: 3,784
• Week ending March 14: 659

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Tedder

10 thoughts on “Nearly 82,000 Vermonters out of work since state of emergency declared last month

  1. Yup over 80K out of work trying to get benefits that they are entitled to but
    like always the brain trust in Montpelier dropped the ball…………..

    Yeah, yeah the Governor states he’ll work out the problems when, after you
    starve to death, get tossed to the curb because you can’t pay your bills.

    Just once, I would like to see Montpelier really step up instead of just the lip
    service…… inept fools running the state. They always have an answer but they
    never have a solution !!

    Wake up people, things will only change when you vote these clowns out ………..

  2. Next, food shortages with no discernible end. Then, Scott will latch onto that to extend “emergency” dictates. Everyone had better be armed to defend themselves, family, and property against the lawlessness that will soon come to Vermont. Your tax dollars at work in Montpeculiar.

    • Neglected to add that now that Scott demolished the state’s businesses, Montpeculiar will now create a new economy in their image. It will be comprised of only firms & entrepreneurs of which THEY approve. All others will be reduced to absolute serfdom, and those who will not comply will be either incarcerated or terminated.

  3. I can think of only one reason to artificially inflate the CV-19 deaths, fear mongering. If the public distrusts the information it receives it is not going to be taken seriously. Who’s stupid idea was that?

    Isn’t this exactly what China did only in a different way?

  4. As farmers have been warning for years, one day your chickens will come to roost. Well, they have landed in Montpelier. Big problem, the cubberd is bare with no feed.

  5. When the dust clears, those states guilty of fiscal malfeasance will be exposed. The only reason, or the primary reason, Pelosi hasn’t signed off on the next payroll protection tranche is so she can get bailout money for states and cities like VT and NYC – those mismanaged by Progressive leadership. Trump’s elimination of the 1%’s ability to deduct portions of their payroll from state and local taxes punished mayors like DeBlasio who heretofore had no problem levying tax increases with no representation. State governments like VT who likewise have no problem with a draconian tax structure to support their green dreams and out-sized welfare systems have got to be quaking in fear of a voters’ revolt. Can you imagine what the state’s investment portfolio looks like now? What was the unfunded balance owed when last reported? 7 or 8 BILLION? Every voter who understands anything about maintaining a balanced checkbook should be directing questions to their representatives about where Vermont is going to get the funds to operate when those taxpayers who have been paying the way for so many for so long are now unable to because their ISPs have evaporated, their jobs are gone, their hopes for change to a sensible life have now been dashed.

  6. The State of Vermont is failing spectacularly. We have an overabundance of state workers and administrative bean counters, most of whom should be pressed into service to assist in clearing the backlog in unemployment claims. I’d rather see them do something more useful than a zoom ‘coffee & chat’ with your county forester.

  7. 80,000 jobless claims! But DOUBLE that for those who are not going to file for “unemployment”, those whose employers are struggling and still paying wages for no work, and all the unemployed who have rreported that they cannot get thru to unemployment no matter how many times they dial.

    This emergency has turned into a full fledged disaster, and believing that we will pop out of it at a certain point,
    is like looking for the fairy godmother.

    A problem has turned into a panic and now into a disaster. 35 older persons, with complications, most from Chittenden Co have died, and that is sad. But the citizens and the economy have “been on the shelf” for a deadly amount of time. “Let my People go !!”

    • Doug, you hit the nail squarely on the head. It’s so hard to continue doing ‘my part’, by staying home, when this now is obviously so unnecessary and to our detriment! Instead I want to ride around town with a bullhorn screaming at everyone to rise up and say no more of this.

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