Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed to receive unemployment benefits last week, the most ever in one week according to the Department of Labor. That number includes almost 54,000 Hoosiers, as many businesses temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Compared to the same week last year, many Indiana counties saw an unemployment increase in the thousands. The biggest spike was in Clark County where unemployment claims increased just shy of 10,000 percent. According to the Department of Labor, the main industries affected were food services and accommodation with entertainment, transportation, warehousing and manufacturing taking big hits, too.
Rachel Blakeman is the director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue University-Fort Wayne. She says a vast majority of the unemployment claims filed in Indiana were driven by service industries that were placed on a temporary pause.
“We do know there are jobs out there,” she says. “The question is, how willing are workers to pivot knowing that, frankly, restaurants are going to come back.”
She anticipates this won’t be a one-week “blip” and that unemployment numbers will continue to grow throughout Indiana’s "Stay-at-Home" directive.
The federal and Indiana state government have expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance to include workers who are unable to maintain employment as a result of COVID-19. A stimulus package from the federal government is also being discussed that could increase the amount of unemployment benefits. To apply for unemployment online, go to unemployment.in.gov.
This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.