Montana Unemployment Applications Drop, but 44K Out of Work

The number of new applications for job assistance submitted in Montana last week fell to 2,892

By Associated Press

HELENA – New applications for unemployment benefits in Montana have declined, but the number of new applications submitted last week was more than twice as high as it was during in the same week last year, officials said Thursday.

The number of new applications for job assistance submitted in Montana last week fell to 2,892, according to the U.S. Employment and Training Administration.

That’s a decrease of 5% from the number of applications submitted the previous week, but an increase of 256.2% compared to the same week last year.

As of May 30, 44,929 people in Montana were receiving unemployment benefits. That represents 9.9% of all eligible employees in the state.

The state has processed 111,644 claims for unemployment since March 14, representing 24.5% of Montana’s workforce that is eligible for the unemployment insurance program.

The maximum weekly unemployment benefit for Montana workers is $1,152, which includes the $600 federal supplement that was added as economic fallout from the coronavirus hit the U.S.

The state made more than 47,000 unemployment insurance payments totaling around $50 million last week, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

“As we move forward with the phased reopening of Montana’s economy, we know these benefits are continuing to provide support for workers still affected by COVID-19,” said Brenda Nordlund, acting commissioner of the department, said earlier this week.

Nationally, about 1.5 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week and 21 million are classified as unemployed.

Meanwhile, Montana reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday from 1,161 tests. The state has reported 28 cases over the past seven days, according to data from the state health department.

There have been 563 cases statewide. Seven people were hospitalized as of Thursday, and 18 have died.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.