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Data from the state Department of Economic Security shows 22,290 applicants filed new claims in the week ending on May 30, that’s down 4,557 from the week prior and more than 100,000 fewer than the peak of 132,382 in the week that ended on April 4.
The number of initial claims to the federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, via the state office fell from last week. A little more than 59,000 people successfully applied for benefits that go to out-of-work Arizonans who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, such as contractors.
DES reported last week that they’re still processing a significant backlog of applications, with many people criticizing the process online.
The state had paid more than $1.8 billion in claims since the last week in March, when COVID-19 led to orders from Gov. Doug Ducey to close businesses they deemed “non-essential” and residents to stay home unless necessary. Most of those orders have since been lifted, which has yet to happen in many states.
At least nine state unemployment trust funds have applied to borrow money from the U.S. Treasury to backfill their unemployment funds. Those funds must be paid back within the year, but several states paid those balances off with bonded money after the Great Recession. In states like Illinois, lawmakers extended those payments for years, paying them off as recently as 2017.
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