The Daily Record: Md. jobless claims soar to unprecedented levels

By Bryan P. Sears

March 26, 2020 

More than 42,300 people filed first-time unemployment claims in Maryland, a number that vastly exceeds the highest period of claims during the Great Recession.

The state numbers come as the U.S. Department of Labor reports more than 3.2 million first-time unemployment claims nationwide. Most of the claims were attributed to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while hotels and food services were especially hard-hit, the federal agency said health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries were also affected.

The data for March 15-21 represents first-time claims the week before Governor Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses to close on March 23.

Baltimore County and Baltimore city had the most residents — 6,763 and 5,392, respectively — file the most claims that week. Those two jurisdictions along with Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties combined for nearly 58 percent of all first-time claims filed last week.

“The unemployment numbers reveal that the business closures and other restrictive measures being taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 are creating economic hardship for many and that is unfortunate but not unexpected,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “The hospitality industry – hotels and restaurants –is a strong part of our regional economy and it has taken a significant hit which will drive up unemployment numbers. However, these steps taken by Governor Hogan are necessary and must be viewed as an investment in public health that will keep the pandemic to a minimum and help the economy turn around sooner rather than later.”

Fry said he expects the region to bounce back.

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Source: The Daily Record