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Number of Carroll County residents filing for unemployment declines by a third since last week, data show

In the week ending May 16, the number of Carroll County residents who filed for unemployment declined by about 33% since the prior week, according to the Maryland Department of Labor.

The total of 896 Carroll countians who filed that week is a decrease from the 1,328 who did so the week ending May 16. But the most recent figure still represents local unemployment several times higher than what was normally seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. Just 31 Carroll countians filed unemployment insurance claims the first week of March.

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In the week ending May 2, 2,384 Carroll residents filed for unemployment. 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.

The next week, 327 Carroll residents filed PUA claims, followed by 248 in the week ending May 16.

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The week ending May 2 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 week ending May 2, 57 Carroll countians filed PEUC claims, compared with 20 the following week and 14 in the week ending May 16.

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. Gov. Larry Hogan began his administration’s “stage one” to reopening last week, allowing some businesses previously considered nonessential to reopen with some limitations.

A total of 855 Carroll countians filed for unemployment in the week ending April 25, 1,069 filed in the week ending April 18, 1,423 filed in the week ending April 11, 2,979 filed the week ending April 4 and 2,685 filed in the week that ended March 28.

At the state level, 51,108 claims were filed in Maryland last week, less than half the number filed two weeks prior. There were also about 15,000 fewer claims than the week before. In the past nine weeks, the state has received 613,676 jobless claims, according to Maryland Department of Labor data.

The state’s workforce was nearly 2.8 million in February.

The number of Americans thrown out of work since the coronavirus crisis struck two months ago has climbed to nearly 39 million, the government said Thursday.

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 Nathan Ruiz contributed to this article.

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