Initial unemployment claims continue dropping as the new system for independent contractors and the self-employed to file for benefits gets up and running this weekend.
For the week ending May 9, the state Department of Labor says new claims were down by almost a thousand from 6,183 to 5,197. But the total number of claims received by the state since the pandemic started is now over 90,000 at 90,270.
Director for the Division of Unemployment Insurance, Darryl Scott, says that number is equal to nearly three years of claims.
"The 90,000 claims that we processed is an excess of the prior 33 months worth of claim volume," said Scott. "The $188 million that we paid in the last eight weeks is three times what we paid last year."
Scott notes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance system for independent contractors and self-employed workers will go live on Saturday, after the state used this week for final testing and training.
He says over 14,000 claims will be transferred to the PUA system.
"The 5,197 that were received in the last week may include some individuals that will ultimately be transferred to the PUA system<' Scoot said. T"he 90,270 we've received since March 15 to May 9, we know now that 14,235 of those individuals are being transferred over to PUA."
Those being transferred should receive letters with a URL to visit to create credentials and submit their application starting on Saturday, May 16.
Nationally, just under three-million people applied for initial unemployment benefits - a decrease of 195,000.