RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The job market is suffering as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The U.S. Department of Labor totaled claims last week at 3.2 million, which is up 3 million from the week before.
In the commonwealth alone, the department of labor reports a staggering rise in cases: from 2,706 two weeks ago to 46,885 last week.
“Where normally we may see a couple hundred claims in a day, now we’re seeing a couple thousand in a day. That gives you a feel of the dramatic increase in our workload,” said William Walton, the Unemployment Insurance Director for the Virginia Employment Commission.
The new cases obviously bring a lot of people for the Virginia Employment Commission to keep track of, and many are filing for the first time. But Walton says making sure that everyone gets their benefits is a two-way street.
“They may be under the misconception that by merely filing the application, they’ll be covered and their benefits will follow. I just want to make sure that people understand that there’s an application, but no benefits will be paid until you actually submit the individual week for payment,” he said.
This means people who file have to check in every week with the office to collect.
You can register online or over the phone, but Walton recommends using their website, especially now as call logs are very heavy, and wait times could be quite long.
Patience is essential in the process; Walton says after filing, wait up to five days for his office to sort everything out on their end because of the sheer volume of cases they are currently dealing with.
“The numbers I cited to you before are the official numbers," he said. "They are very large in my experience here with the agency - which has been for many years – and again, we know those numbers continue to increase with more folks being laid off.”
Governor Ralph Northam’s Chief Workforce Advisor, Megan Healy, said that 57% of the new filings come from people who worked in hospitality or the food services industry.
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