June 18, 2020
LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that new unemployment claims were flat last week, and continued weeks claimed declined. Spreadsheets showing regular and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims data are available here and will be updated every Thursday. An interactive dashboard with claim statistics is here.
New Unemployment Claims
There were 4,869 new regular unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending June 13, 2020. This is an increase of 3.66 percent from the previous week, when 4,697 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 1,112 new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed last week compared to 1,027 the prior week.
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 manufacturing (500), stable from the prior week (369). In the week ending June 13, the majority of industry sectors had a slight increase in initial claims. The largest increases were seen in public administration (93 percent), manufacturing (35 percent),) and arts, entertainment and recreation (30 percent). For claim counts by industry and occupation, click here.
Continued Unemployment Claims
There were 55,457 continued weeks of regular unemployment claimed last week. This is a slight decrease from the prior week (58,363), a difference of 2,906 or 4.97 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 24,508 continued weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimed last week compared to 22,144 the week prior, an increase of 10.6 percent.
Since the week ending May 9th, with the easing of the Directed Health Measures, 39 out of the top 50 (78 percent) occupations with the highest number of weeks claimed have seen a weekly decrease in the number of weeks claimed. Twenty-five out of the top 50 (50 percent) occupations with the highest number of weeks claimed have seen a weekly decrease of 10 percent. The top three occupations with the largest percent change in weeks claimed from May 9 are dental hygienist (-91 percent), Dental Assistants (-79 percent), and hairdressers, hairstylist and cosmetologists (-72 percent).
Benefit Payments and Claim Processing
Total benefits paid last week were $64 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 4,875 new individuals receive benefit payments.
The chart 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 new regular unemployment claims paid since March 1, 85.6 percent were paid within 28 days, and 76.1 percent were paid within 21 days. There are currently around 7,225 new claims yet to be processed.
Filing A Claim
Unemployment claims in Nebraska are filed online at NEworks.nebraska.gov. The NEworks mobile app is available to download free.
An additional 13 weeks of benefits are available under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC). So far, NDOL has paid $1.25 million and 4,106 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 NEworks.nebraska.gov. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 https://dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits/Resources/Fraud to submit information.
Reemployment Services: Contact information for job centers across the state can be found here: https://dol.nebraska.gov/Home/AboutUs
Assistance: If your claim is older than 28 days and you have not received payment or notification regarding eligibility, you may contact email@example.com.