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62,000 Marylanders file for unemployment in first drop in jobless claims since coronavirus reached the state

Another 61,770 Marylanders filed for unemployment last week as the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread — though it was the first drop in jobless claims since COVID-19 reached the state.

Nationally, 5.2 million people filed for unemployment in the week ending April 11, also a decline from recent weeks but still a record-shattering figure.

In all, nearly 297,000 people have filed for unemployment in Maryland over the past month, among 22 million people seeking jobless claims across the country. By comparison, Maryland received roughly 215,000 jobless claims in all of 2019, Latest Baltimore Business News and 232,000 in 2018.

Nearly 12 million people are now receiving unemployment checks across the U.S., roughly matching the peak reached in January 2010, shortly after the Great Recession officially ended.

The surge of demand for unemployment benefits has caused major backups in the processing of claims, though state and federal officials assure laid-off workers they will eventually get any and all unemployment checks they are owed.

Here’s what you need to know if you get laid off in Maryland during coronavirus pandemic »
Maryland labor officials say they are working to train additional unemployment office staff to handle the tens of thousands of calls coming in every day. And they are also working to allow more dislocated workers to file for unemployment online, instead of by phone, Press Release Distribution Service which is required for federal workers and anyone who has recently worked outside of Maryland.

As of last week, the officials said they were still working to update systems to allow Marylanders to receive new unemployment programs passed under the federal CARES Act last month. That includes an extra $600 in weekly benefits through the end of July, an extra 13 weeks of eligibility for unemployment benefits, and new eligibility for self-employed people and so called “gig economy" workers.

In Maryland, those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own are eligible for anywhere from $50 to $430 a week in unemployment benefits, and they can collect for up to 26 weeks.

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