Memphis area jobless claims top 100,000 since pandemic hit

By Updated: May 21, 2020 9:04 AM CT | Published: May 21, 2020 8:56 AM CT

Tennessee reported 86,080 people laid off in the Memphis area since March 15 as 6,081 new unemployment claims rolled in during the week of May 16.

Statewide, new claims dropped to 23,486 for a nine-week total of 532,580, down from 39,096 the week before, suggesting coronavirus-related job cuts are dwindling.

Nationally, 2.4 million new claims were filed, bringing the total to more than 38 million since the pandemic began causing a widespread shutdown of the economy.

The figures were released Thursday, May 21, by the U.S. Department of Labor and Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The Memphis area data covers Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties in southwest Tennessee.

It doesn’t account for Mississippi and Arkansas portions of the metro area, which could be expected to increase the count about 20%, to more than 103,000 over the nine weeks.

In March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown, there were 27,824 people unemployed in the metro area.

The state of Tennessee reported 319,574 people received $358,992,180 in total unemployment payments during the week. That consisted of $63,875,235 in state benefits, which max out at $275 a week, and $295,116,945 in federal benefits of $600 a week under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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unemployment claims COVID-19 pandemic jobless

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