Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Wyoming unemployment claims leap

 


Unemployment rates across the country have been skyrocketing and Wyoming is not immune to the trend being generally associated with the spread of COVID-19 and the oil industry.

Wyoming had more than 6,000 new claims for unemployment last week, and increase of 160 percent from the week before.

Restaurant workers have been hit hard as well, along with construction and mining.

The unemployment numbers released by the state are only available through February, showing an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent for Hot Springs County.

Teton County had the lowest unemployment rate in February at just 2.6 percent while Big Horn County showed the highest in unemployed at 5.5 percent.

Statewide, the numbers for January and February were equal at 4.3 percent for 2020, compared to February 2019 when it was just 3.8 percent.

Right now, those applying for unemployment in Wyoming are experiencing wait times on the phone of as much as three hours. Workers are being shifted over to the claims division to answer phones and process applications in an attempt to get people taken care of as quickly as possible.

For now, they have implemented a new system based on the first letter of your last name, hoping to ease some of the congestion at the call center.

If your name begins with a letter A through M, you may file claims on Monday, Wednesday or before noon on Fridays. If your last name starts with a letter between N and Z, you file claims on Tuesdays, Thursdays or after noon on Fridays.

If you want to avoid the long call times, you may apply for benefits online at wyui.wyo.gov.

Because of the Federal Stimulus Package, unemployment benefits have been extended to more people, including those who are self employed or independent contractors.

In addition, the Wyoming Department of Family Services can now provide emergency food stamp supplements to SNAP households for April and May.

 

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