CHEYENNE, Wyo. | By MEAD GRUVER (AP) — Unemployment claims in Wyoming continue to surge as the coronavirus keeps businesses closed and people at home. New claims for unemployment compensation increased 24% last week, topping 4,600. That’s on top of a more than seven-fold increase the week before. Wyoming Department of Workforce Services spokesman Ty Stockton says people filing for unemployment have had to wait up to three hours to get through to the department on the phone but the department is adding phone lines and reallocating staff to handle the increase. Wyoming as of Thursday had 150 cases of the COVID-19 virus confirmed in 16 of its 23 counties.
BOISE, Idaho | By KEITH RIDLER (AP) — Nearly 33,000 Idaho residents filed for unemployment benefits last week as the Idaho economy continues shedding jobs at a record rate because of the coronavirus. The Idaho Department of Labor on Thursday reported that the total number of people filing for claims between March 15 and Saturday is more than 46,500. The agency says workers of all age groups are being affected, but people under age 25 represent a disproportionate share of the total. The agency says its working with the federal government to put in place provisions of the $2.2 trillion rescue package approved by Congress last week that should help self-employed or gig-economy workers.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah | By LINDSAY WHITEHURST (AP) — Jobless claims in Utah ballooned again as tens of thousands of people forced out of work during the coronavirus crisis flooded the system that had been staffed to handle a trickle during a time of historically low unemployment. Numbers released Thursday show 28,560 new unemployment claims, a nearly 50% increase from the already record-setting levels of the week before, as businesses close to slow the spread of the pandemic that has infected more than 1,000 people in Utah and hospitalized 100. State unemployment division director Kevin Burt says there have been nearly as many claims in the past two weeks than all of 2019.