More than 2,000 have filed for unemployment in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2020 at 10:15 am

More than 2,000 people have filed for unemployment in Orleans County in four weeks, according to the state Department of Labor.

The county has a workforce of about 17,000 people. The number of workers to file initial claims is 2,138 in the weeks ending March 21 (138 claims), March 28 (824 claims), April 4 (595 claims) and April 11 (581 claims).

That is far more than the same time period a year. The last week of March in 2019 had 39 claims filed in Orleans County, with 23 the first week of April and 21 the second week of April.

Unemployment claims surged after many were closed during the Covid-19 shutdown. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is keeping schools and many nonessential businesses closed until May 15. He announced on Tuesday he is forming regional councils to develop plans for reopening businesses. The governor said he is looking for incrementally reopening the economy.

The county typically has had about 1,000 people on unemployment. March 2010 was the last time the county had 2,000 unemployed. The unemployment rate was 10 percent then.

The unemployment rate was at 5.5 percent in February and 5.6 in March, before the mass unemployment claims were filed.

State-wide there were 1,210,947 unemployment claims filed between March 14 and April 11. That compares to 64,941 during the same time frame a year earlier.

Some of the industries seeing the biggest unemployment filings include retail trade, from 5,602 in mid-March to mid-April 2019 to 162,356 during that same period in 2020; accommodation and food services, 7,374 to 248,355; arts, entertainment and recreation, 1,934 to 46,544; construction/utilities, 11,255 to 112,895; health care and social assistance, 5,498 to 131,204; manufacturing, 3,971 to 63,398; professional, scientific and technical services, 3,571 to 41,928; and transportation and warehousing, from 2,565 to 49,455.

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