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First-time unemployment claims dropped last week

First-time unemployment insurance claims in Allen County dropped last week despite the lingering economic impact of COVID-19.

According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Allen County had 6,848 first-time claims for the week ending April 3, compared to 9,950 the week before. Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Grant, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties had 14,942 last week, compared to 21,234 for the earlier week.

In the three weeks of the COVID-19 crisis (the weeks ending March 21, March 28 and April 3), those counties had 42,279 initial claims, with 20,359 claims coming from Allen. Once again, the manufacturing industry led the region in initial claims with 5,399, compared to 11,655 the previous week. Retail trade was second with 1,296 initial claims.

“It’s a relief to see the numbers go down locally and regionally last week, but the sheer volume of these claims for three weeks remains jarring,” Rachel Blakeman, director of Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Community Research Institute, said in a statement. “I would caution against interpreting this shift as an improvement. It is far too early to predict how this will play out for the next three to six months.”

“We continue to stress patience for those who are still trying to file for unemployment benefits or have questions about unemployment,” stated Rick Farrant, communications director with Northeast Indiana Works. “All employment matters are handled through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and specifically the portal at employment.in.gov. DWD has been ramping up to handle the truly unprecedented number of filings and information requests, and hopefully people will increasingly find it easier to get assistance.”

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