Jobless claims in Vermont have reached more than 71,000 since Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency in March and ordered Vermonters to shut down businesses, restrict gatherings to 10 or less and “stay home, stay safe.”
According to the Department of Labor’s weekly unemployment insurance claims report released Thursday, the number of processed initial jobless claims for the week totaled 16,474, up from 14,633 the week of March 28 and 3,784 the week before that. The spike is a jolting 3,074% increase above the 519 unemployment insurance claims filed a year ago this week.
Supplemental information provided through the DOL’s Unemployment Insurance Division notes that while the department processed 16,474 claims for the week, it received 22,754 claims. Staff continue to struggle with backlogs due to the high volume of layoffs caused by the governor’s orders.
The state had 21,953 prior jobless claims continue for the week, while 13,797 claims were continuing in the week prior, the report indicates.
Since March 15, the total number of initial jobless claims received by the DOL has reached 71,667, according to supplemental information from the Unemployment Insurance Division.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that 6.6 million Americans nationwide filed first-time unemployment claims, adding to the more than 10 million who filed in the two weeks prior. Altogether, more than 1 in 10 U.S. workers have lost jobs since governors across the country began halting economic activity last month.
Number of deaths
As of April 9, the Vermont Department of Health reports 23 people have died after having tested positive for COVID-19. With 8,181 tests administered so far, the state has identified 628 total cases. About 47 people are currently being monitored, and 777 individuals have have completed monitoring. More than half of all coronavirus cases — 336 — have occurred in Chittenden County.
Comparison with flu and pneumonia
Vermont had 22 people die of pneumonia, and nine die from seasonal flu, during the three-week period ending March 21. Weekly statistics are tracked by the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System.
U.S. COVID-19 deaths
The U.S. death total for coronavirus patients, as of April 9, has reached 14,696, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 7,067 of those deaths have occurred in the state of New York. Total coronavirus cases in the United States have climbed to 427,460.
The CDC estimates that between 24,000 and 63,000 Americans have died of seasonal flu since Oct. 1.
On Friday, Scott is expected to announce an extension of his “stay home, stay safe” order. However, at Wednesday’s press briefing the governor reported a leveling off of the virus spread in Vermont and said he would release modeling that shows the state may soon begin to relax restrictions a little at at time.
“This may get harder before it gets easier, but as soon as the data shows a leveling and downward trend, then, and only then, will we open the spigot a quarter turn at a time to get folks back to work in a way that’s responsible and safe,” Scott said Wednesday.