Columbia Gorge Initial Claims by Industry

by Dallas Fridley

May 20, 2020

As of May 9, 2020, initial claims for Oregon unemployment insurance benefits reached nearly 400,000. COVID-19 business closures, which began in mid-March, have resulted in weekly claims that ranged from a peak of 88,600 during the week ending March 28th to a low of 14,100 (week ending May 9th).

The greatest number of initial claims continue to come from the accommodation and food services sector, with 68,400 initial claims filed in the industry since March 15. Other sectors with the largest number of initial claims include health care and social assistance (43,100) and retail trade (36,400). However, every sector of the economy has seen increased claims activity.

Here in the Columbia Gorge, the number of initial unemployment claims processed during the week ending May 9th dialed back somewhat to about 340, a drop of around 340 compared with the week of April 4th. Over the eight-week period from March 15 to May 9, initial unemployment insurance claims in the Columbia Gorge totaled about 3,400. However, the actual number of claims filed by Columbia Gorge residents was likely higher than the 3,400 claims processed.

At the county level, Hood River’s initial claims reached nearly 1,700, or half of the area’s total. Wasco County’s initial claims totaled about 1,570 or 46 percent of all claims processed for the Columbia Gorge. Initial claims in Gilliam, Sherman, and Wheeler counties together totaled close to 120 or 3.4 percent of claims.

Accommodation and food services represented about one out of four initial unemployment insurance claims processed, followed by health care and social assistance which accounted for one out of five claims. Retail trade (10%); manufacturing (9%); construction (6%); arts, entertainment, and recreation (5%); and other services (4%) together represented one out of three initial claims.
Almost nine out of 10 (86%) initial claims for regular unemployment benefits received between March 15 and May 9 have been processed. For each of the past five weeks, more claims for regular benefits have been processed than received in Oregon.

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