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Continuing trend spurred by pandemic, over 1,300 Carroll County residents filed for unemployment last week

A total of 1,328 Carroll County residents filed for unemployment in the week ending May 9, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, continuing a trend far beyond what was typical before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prior week, ending May 2, 2,384 Carroll residents filed for unemployment, Maryland Department of Labor data shows. That week was the first in which people could file claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, an expanded unemployment insurance program offered through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act. Of those 2,384 people, 931 filed PUA claims.

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In the week ending May 9, 327 Carroll residents filed PUA claims.

That week was also the first in which people could file claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, an aid program that extends benefits by 13 weeks and offers them an extra $600 a week. The ending May 2, 57 Carroll countians filed PEUC claims, compared with 20 the following week.

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The pandemic of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has forced businesses to close and companies to furlough or lay-off employees while measures have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus.

A total of 855 Carroll countians filed for unemployment in the week ending April 25, according to the Maryland Department of Labor. That was a decline from the 1,069 people who applied in the week ending April 18.

Before that, a total of 1,423 people filed for unemployment the week ending April 11, and 2,979 filed the week ending April 4. Carroll saw 2,685 claims for unemployment insurance in the week that ended March 28, more than double the previous week’s 1,158 claims. A fraction of that total, 31 Carroll countians, filed unemployment insurance claims the first week of March.

At the state level, 65,805 Maryland residents filed for unemployment assistance last week. Thursday’s figures show significant declines in the number of unemployment insurance and PUA claims, but that tens of thousands of Marylanders continue to file for financial aid weekly amid the ongoing pandemic.

Since the beginning of March, when the earliest cases of coronavirus were first reported in Maryland, more than 500,000 claims for unemployment insurance or assistance have been filed in Maryland. The state’s workforce was nearly 2.8 million in February.

Denise Rickell, manager at the Carroll County Business/Employment Resource Center, or BERC, has said that many people applying for unemployment are expecting to return to their previous employer when businesses re-open. BERC closed its in-person offices, but staff have been returning phone calls and offering information through BERC’s website, carrollworks.com, and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CCBERC.

Residents who typically work full time or part time are eligible for unemployment. A list of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance Benefits Administration is available at http://labor.maryland.gov/employment/uicovidfaqs.shtml.

Baltimore Sun reporter Phil Davis contributed to this article.

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