New Unemployment Claims Continue to Decline

Release Date: 6/11/2020
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June 11, 2020

LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that new unemployment claims continued to decline last week.  Spreadsheets showing regular and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims data are available here and will be updated every Thursday.

New Unemployment Claims

There were 4,697 new regular unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending June 6, 2020. This is a decrease of 7.57 percent from the previous week, when 5,082 initial claims were filed. The highest number of new claims filed during the pandemic was 26,539 claims during the week ending April 4. There were 1,037 new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed last week compared to 1,079 the prior week, a decrease of 3.9 percent.

Initial claims are filed by individuals to request a determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. NDOL processes initial unemployment insurance claims and, if an individual meets eligibility criteria, benefits are paid for each week of continued unemployment. Weekly certifications are required in order to claim continued weeks of unemployment and receive payment.

The highest counts of initial claims were in health care and social assistance (454), stable from the prior week (455). Most industries had declines in initial claims from the prior week.  Increases were seen in professional, scientific and technical services (50 percent), finance and insurance (11 percent), arts, entertainment and recreation (25 percent) and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (25 percent). For claim counts by industry and occupation, click here.

Continued Unemployment Claims

There were 58,363 continued weeks of regular unemployment claimed last week.  This is a slight increase from the prior week (57,394), a difference of 969 or 1.68 percent.  Continued weeks refer to the individual weeks of unemployment claimed after a person applies for benefits. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the highest number of continued weeks was in the second week of 2010 when there were 26,075 continued weeks claimed.  There were 22,142 continued weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimed last week compared to 17,299 the week prior, an increase of 28 percent.

With the easing of Directed Health Measures, the majority the top 50 occupations with the largest amount of claimed weeks went down on average of 29 percent since the week ending May 9.  The occupations with the largest percentage drop in weeks claimed were dentists, general (88%), dental hygienists (80%), and dental assistants (77%).  The three occupations with the largest drop in weeks claimed are hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists (-794), retail salespersons (-756), and waiters and waitresses (-661).  Of 775 reported occupations, 76 percent had a decrease in weeks claimed from the week ending May 9 to the week ending May 30. 

Benefit Payments and Claim Processing 

Total benefits paid last week were nearly $63 million, including regular benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments and payments under the additional 13 weeks of benefits available through the CARES Act (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation). Last week also saw around 4,769 new individuals receive benefit payments.

The chart on page three shows new individuals paid over time.  Increases can be seen with the start of payments for COVID-19 claims, the implementation of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and the Governor’s April 30 Executive Order. Regular and PUA benefits paid each week can be found here.

Of the regular unemployment claims paid since March 1, 85 percent were paid within 28 days; 75 percent were paid within 21 days.  There are currently around 7,693 new claims yet to be processed.

Filing A Claim

Unemployment claims in Nebraska are filed online at The NEworks mobile app is available to download free.

13-Week Extension

An additional 13 weeks of benefits are available under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC).  So far, NDOL has paid $753,230 and 858 individuals.This federal benefit is for workers who have exhausted regular benefits after July 1, 2019.  To apply for this benefit, reopen your claim and continue to file weekly claims at  The earliest week that can be claimed is the week ending April 4.

Weekly Claims: After filing a new claim, applicants must certify their eligibility every week that they continue to be unemployed by logging into their NEworks account and filing a weekly claim.  These weekly claims must be completed even while a new claim is still being processed. 

Short-Time Compensation: Employers who have Short-Time Compensation plans must file weekly claims for employees listed on the plan in order for these employees to receive payment.  Employees under STC plans should not file weekly claims. 

Waivers Extended: The waivers of the requirements to search for work and serve an unpaid waiting week have been extended through August 1. Employer charging for benefits paid due to COVID-19 has also been waived through August 1.

$600 Payments: All recipients of state or federal unemployment benefits automatically receive an additional $600 per week through July 25 under the CARES Act.

Refusing Work:  Employers who suspect a worker is refusing a job in order to continue collecting unemployment benefits may report these workers to  Workers with pre-existing conditions should work with their employers before being called back to work.

Report Fraud: If you suspect unemployment fraud, go to here to submit information.

Reemployment Services: Contact information for job centers across the state can be found here:

Assistance: If your claim is older than 28 days and you have not received payment or notification regarding eligibility, you may contact

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