Delaware reports sixth straight drop in unemployment filings

DOVER — The pace at which Delawareans are filing unemployment claims amid the coronavirus epidemic is continuing its weeks-long decline but is still higher than it has ever been.

The Delaware Department of Labor reported Thursday that roughly 5,200 initial unemployment claims were filed for the week ending May 9. That’s down from about 6,180 filed in the previous week and marks the sixth straight weekly decline in jobless claims.

Official said 90,270 jobless claims have been filed since March 15, and more than $188 million in unemployment benefits paid. That total includes $109 million in federal funds and $78.3 million from Delaware’s unemployment insurance trust fund.

Officials also said more than 14,200 claims have been received from independent contractors, self-employed workers and those who reported insufficient or zero wages. Those individuals may be eligible for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

The number of jobless claims last week is less than a third of the totals for the last week of March and in the first week of April.

The previous monthly record for unemployment claim filings in Delaware over the past three decades was a little more than 9,600 in January 2002.

Nationally, nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as the viral outbreak led more companies to slash jobs even though most states have begun to let some businesses reopen under certain restrictions.

Roughly 36 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the two months since the coronavirus first forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday. An additional 842,000 people applied for aid last week through a separate federal program set up for the self-employed and gig workers.

Jobless workers in some states are still reporting difficulty applying for or receiving benefits. These include free-lance, gig and self-employed workers, who became newly eligible for jobless aid this year.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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