JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
New unemployment claims slowed a bit in Missouri last week but were still sky-high compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Missouri reported 91,049 new jobless claims for the week ending Saturday, down from about 104,000 a week before. The most recent report marks the third straight week of massive unemployment claims in the state as companies lay off workers because of restrictions on business related to COVID-19.
The new number remains far higher than those reported before the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated in Missouri -- jobless claims were about 4,000 for the week ending March 7.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson ordered March 21 that all restaurants switch to pickup, delivery and drive-thru only, leading many of those businesses to lay off workers. Some counties also have stay-at-home orders in place closing non-essential businesses to the public.
Missouri Labor Department Director Anna Hui said this week that the department has received more claims in the past few weeks than during all of 2019.
Federal legislation to stimulate the economy as the pandemic continues includes extra money for unemployed workers. State leaders said the extra $600 per week for unemployed workers should start arriving next week.
The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week for the second straight week. About 10 percent of the country's workforce has sought unemployment benefits in the past few weeks.