BOISE — The Idaho Department of Labor is announcing another shattered milestone in unemployment claims, with another week of unemployment claims related to COVID-19 and the stay-home order leading to a four-week total adding up to more than the entire year of 2019.
With 18,531 claims in the last week, Idaho totaled 95,961 in the last four weeks. That passed the 2019 total by more than 60 percent.
The last four weeks have been historically bad for the Idaho workforce, with new unemployment claims increasing from 1,031 in the 11th week of 2020 to 13,575 in the 12th. That number skyrocketed higher in the 13th week of the year, hitting a historic peak of 32,941 new claims, dipping slightly to 30,904 in week 14 before this week's 18,531 brought us to where we are now. Total unemployment payouts added up to more than $9 million, as shown in the graphic created by the Idaho Department of Labor above.
The nearly 100,000 new unemployment claims have put an unprecedented burden on the Idaho Department of Labor, which is having to process these claims under state law as well as new guidelines related to the CARES Act passed by Congress, all with a similar staff size to before the pandemic struck and with employees working from home.