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Another week of high jobless claims in Missouri and Illinois, but pace of new filings slows

Another week of high jobless claims in Missouri and Illinois, but pace of new filings slows

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Social distancing St. Louis

A message board on Market Street reminds people to maintain their social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. St. Louis has placed message boards around downtown and in parks in an effort slow the spread of the coronavirus during the pandemic. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — Another 59,271 Missouri workers filed initial jobless claims last week, according to figures released Thursday by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The figure — while still high — is significantly lower than numbers for the three preceding weeks, when the state was receiving between 91,000 and 104,000 claims per week.

In Illinois, there were 102,736 initial claims last week, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor. That was down from 141,160 claims for the week ending April 11.

Both states, and the country, have been dealing with a crush of unemployment claims as the world responds to the new coronavirus pandemic.

In Missouri, the Department of Labor said this week it had begun processing unemployment claims for gig and self-employed workers who typically aren’t eligible for benefits.

While some contacted by the Post-Dispatch last week were starting to receive their benefits, not everyone’s experience had been so smooth

A Missouri Labor Department spokeswoman has said data is not available to show how many filers since mid-March have begun to receive benefits. 

According to data compiled by the Missouri Spatial Data Information Service, more than 411,000 claims have been filed since March 15. Of that number, about 372,000 are related to the new coronavirus. Nearly 144,000 jobless claims have been filed during that period in St. Louis and St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties, according to the information service. Of that number, about 130,000 are COVID-19-related.

With the Missouri labor force estimated at 3.1 million, the number of unemployed in the state now exceeds 13%.

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