MEDFORD, Ore. – New unemployment numbers show the damage coronavirus has inflicted upon Oregon’s economy.
Currently, more than 266,000 Oregonians are without a job. Unemployment has reached a record high in Oregon going from 3.5% in March to 14.2% in April. Now that’s the statewide numbers, the local numbers, which are not available could be much higher.
“There were so many initial unemployment insurance claims filed in so many industries in the past 7 or 8 weeks,” said Guy Tauer, regional economist.
April unemployment numbers show for the first time the impact coronavirus has on our economy. Tauer says food service industries were hit hardest.
“That was the largest contributor to that total loss of about 253,000 jobs over the month in Oregon,” said Tauer.
County by county numbers for April will be released next week. Tauer says traditionally, Southern Oregon’s unemployment is higher than the statewide average.
“You would expect those impacts to be slightly different based on our slightly different industries,” said Tauer.
The overwhelming numbers have created a huge bottleneck for the state. With outdated technology it’s still catching up.
Tauer says the Employment Department has hired nearly 600 more people to process claims.
“We’ve processed about 88% of the claims that have been filed of the nearly 400,000 that have come in. So we are still playing catch up, but we’re making progress,” said Tauer.
Nationally, the U.S. Government said last week that more than 36 million people had filed for unemployment since the pandemic began.
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university’s political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster’s Foundation.
Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]