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Nebraska unemployment claims top 120,000 and continue to surge amid coronavirus

Nebraska unemployment claims top 120,000 and continue to surge amid coronavirus

  • Updated

Another 5,923 Nebraskans filed for unemployment last week as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on jobs in the state.

The latest filings continued a surge that since mid-March has seen more than 120,000 Nebraskans file jobless claims. New weekly claims have hovered around 6,000, dropping slightly each of the past few weeks; before the pandemic, claim numbers often fell below 1,000. Claims peaked in early April at more than 26,000.

“It continues the down trend we’ve seen for the last three or four weeks now,” said John Albin, Nebraska’s state labor commissioner. “We hope that’s a long-term trend.”

The total number of people currently receiving unemployment also dropped in the past week from roughly 65,000 to 61,000, which Albin hopes means some of the jobless are now returning to work.

Albin said the state is also making progress against the massive backlog of claims that at times has forced some of the jobless to wait weeks for benefits.

The backlog that at its peak was over 64,000 claims has been winnowed down to 11,500, roughly the number the state’s augmented processing staff can process in about two weeks, Albin said.

Nationwide, more than 2.4 million new jobless claims were filed last week, bringing the U.S. total during the crisis to nearly 39 million. Iowa saw another 13,000 new claims and has seen 187,000 total claims since mid-March.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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