Nearly 420,000 Arizonans have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Nearly 420,000 Arizonans have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic

From the April's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: 1,200+ Pima County cases, stay-home order extended series

Tanque Verde Ranch, 14301 E. Speedway, filed a notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of its plan to layoff 109 employees because of the coronavirus. This is just one of many local  businesses shedding jobs rapidly during the pandemic. 

Nearly 420,000 Arizonans have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

And those are just the cases we know of.

New figures Monday show another 72,103 people filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended Friday, April 17.

That brings the total in the past five weeks to 418,016, which is 11.6% of the total Arizona workforce, meaning those working and those looking.

The numbers do not cover those who worked less than 30 hours a week as they do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

How many people work part time is not reported by the state.

But the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, even before the economic downturn, there were about 115,000 Arizonans who wanted to work full time but only could find part-time employment.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security, which administers unemployment benefits, said Monday that the state is “continuing to develop” its version of the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

This will provide benefits to some who are ineligible for regular jobless payments such as the self employed.

Overall, DES said it distributed $150.9 million in benefits last week, with an additional $74 million on Monday.

Those figures include the extra $600 a week provided for under federal legislation above and beyond the state’s own maximum of $240 a week.

DES also said it has issued retroactive $600 payments to those who began filing as far back as March 29.

DES also said it answered 23,700 calls in the past week, though there was no indication of how many people were unable to get through.

With all the new applications, DES announced it will contract with a private company to help identify those who have applied but are ineligible for benefits.

The department said that involves new efforts to access and use “additional data sources to identify potential fraudulent claims and activity.”

There was no immediate response to requests for information on what that entails.

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