More than 120,000 Hoosiers filed for unemployment insurance last week, according to the Department of Workforce Development. The numbers released Tuesday represent the dramatic effect social distancing measures are having on the state’s workforce.
The amount of initial claims more than doubled from the previous week’s already high numbers. It means that more than 3.5 percent of Indiana’s entire labor force applied for unemployment benefits last week. Compared to the same week last year, several manufacturing-dependent counties saw unemployment claims increase more than 10,000 percent.
Rachel Blakeman is the director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue University-Fort Wayne. Based on the areas where applications increased, she says it indicates “Stay-At-Home” orders are beginning to affect far more than service industries.
“Like Noble County, one of the most manufacturing-dependent counties in the country, they had more than 2,300 claimants,” she says. “Clearly that’s not all coming from restaurants.”
She anticipates the state will continue to see unusually high initial claim numbers next week as large companies turn furloughs into layoffs.
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.