Coronavirus closes businesses: over 100,000 have applied for unemployment, CT Department of Labor says

Coronavirus

CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — Thousands of people around Connecticut are without work due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As of end-of-day March 23, CT’s Department of Labor reported nearly 100,000 CT residents are out of work in just over one week.

Out of the nearly 100,000, 27,000 new claims were files since Friday.

Thursday, March 19, the State Department of Labor reported that 14,000 people applied for unemployment alone.

They said that is more than double the number of daily applicants during the height of the recession in 2008-2009, when the average was 5,000-7,000 per day.

Since last Friday, 56,000 people have applied for unemployment.

Those with unemployment questions may visit our Online Assistance Center at www.filectui.com. General questions may be submitted to dol.webhelp@ct.gov

Wednesday, the State Department of Labor reported that unemployment applications are averaging 10,000 a day, including Wednesday. The usual rate of application is 500 per day. That’s 20 times the average.

The increase in unemployment came from the closures or scaling back of businesses after warnings from state leaders.

Officials with the Connecticut Department of Labor said it usually sees roughly 1,000 people apply for unemployment within a weekend; however, by Monday morning, nearly 8,000 had come in.

Most applications are coming from those in the hospitality, education, seasonal industries, and from private companies that service schools.

Those families are not unsure when or where their next paycheck is coming from.

“I probably won’t be able to pay my bills unless I can get an extension on unemployment,” said Tracie Jacbonson, a home health aid who was seeking unemployment.

“Where are they going to get the money to pay for their rent, pay for food for their children to put on the table,” questioned Annie MacDonald, UE Local, Brandford.

However, the department of labor said it is ready to help those in need.

“The message is we’re trying, and we’re going to get the unemployment benefits out as soon as we can,” said Commissioner Kurt Westby. “It’s not the same as a regular paycheck. It’s a hardship there’s no doubt about it, but we as a collective society have to get through this. It’ll be tough.”

MacDonald represents 135 teachers’ assistants in Branford public schools.

She said hourly workers are some of the hardest hit.

Right now, MacDonald said Branford has not announced plans on whether her union members will be paid while schools are closed.

Those who need to file for unemployment or have questions should visit the department’s website.

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