SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Unemployment slowed in Utah last week but jobless claims remained at historic levels as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the worldwide economy, state officials said Thursday.
About 24,000 more people filed for unemployment benefits in Utah last week, bringing the four-week total to 106,000. That is a staggering figure that easily surpassed the total of 63,000 claims from all of 2019, said Kevin Burt, Utah Department of Workforce Services’ Unemployment Insurance Division director.
The claims filed each of the past four weeks were more than any single week on record, including during the height of the Great Recession in 2009 when the high was about 5,000 in one week, Burt said.
Yet, there are some indications the worst may have passed in Utah.
The total for the week that ended April 11 marked a 27% decrease from the week before. This current week is also trending down, Burt said.
Utah’s woes mirror national trends. The U.S. government said 5.2 million more people applied for unemployment benefits last week. The four-week total of 22 million is easily the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record. The losses amount to about 1 in 7 workers.