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Unemployment claims remain high amid COVID-19 shutdown

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

Unemployment claims across the state of Alabama continue to pour in due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

With many businesses shut down amid quarantine and stay-at-home orders, many people have found themselves out of work.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, 77,515 unemployment initial claims were made during the week of April 11, with 500 of those coming from Chilton County.

Of those statewide, 71,374 were related to COVID-19.

The week of April 4 saw the most claims since complications surrounding the pandemic began. According to ADOL, 106,739 claims were made that week, with 94,047 due to the coronavirus.

Chilton County saw 810 unemployment claims that week.

The week of March 28 saw 80,984 claims across the state and 669 in Chilton County.

Going back one more week to March 21 and the numbers sharply decline, as much of the shut down of business had yet to hit. There were 12,369 claims that week in Alabama and only 80 in Chilton County.

As a pre-virus benchmark, the week before, March 14, saw only 1,824 claims statewide and 10 in Chilton County.

In one month’s time, the number of claims in Chilton County alone went up 50 times what they had been.

According to ADOL, for the latest week of recording, April 11, the majority of claims filed were from employees in the Industry Not Available (unclassified) section (26,532), followed by Manufacturing (11,608), Accommodation and Food Services (7,796), Retail Trade (7,149), Health Care and Social Assistance (6,840), and Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services (6,003). Jefferson County had largest number of claims with 10,709.

ADOL announced April 15 that the agency had launched an unemployment claims tracker online to assist compensation claimants.

According to a release from the organization, the tracker includes the following information:

• What is My Claim Status?  Tells you whether there is a claim in the system and whether it is eligible for benefits. Allows you to find out if there are any issues stopping payment.

• What Happens Next?  Tells you exactly what you need to do to move your claim or payment to the next step.

• When Will I Get Paid?  Tells you how much you are entitled to each week. Tells you when your next payment will be made and when you can expect to see it in your bank account.

• What Have I Already Been Paid?  Shows you each of the payments that have already been paid, when the payments were made, and whether there were any deductions.

• I need to reset my PIN: A link will allow you to reset your pin without assistance from ADOL staff.”

“We have been working constantly to come up with innovative ways to help Alabamians get the answers they need during this period of uncertainty,” said ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “We hope that this tool will help people find the information they need without them having to spend hours trying to contact us. We continue to urge patience as we are dealing with record numbers of unemployment compensation claims.”

The tool can be accessed at labor.alabama.gov. Claimants will need their login information, which includes their Social Security number and pin.