COVID-19’s impact on West Virginia workers

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With COVID-19 spreading rapidly through the United States, many pieces of everyday life has been forced to come to a complete stop.

The U.S. has begun to embrace social distancing, to help minimize the spread of the virus. However, this comes at a price. Small and even some medium-sized businesses have had no other choice but to close their doors.

While some of these places are easily able to allow their employees to work out of the office, not all have been so lucky. This has left millions of Americans wondering, ‘How will I make it to the end of the month?’

Many have turned to unemployment, according to a report from NBC News, a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last week alone. This number, according to NBC, doesn’t include the 3.28 million claims from the week before, and could actually be higher due to the amount of people who have had trouble filing a claim.

A study completed by WalletHub showed the difference in the impact that the virus has had on workers in each state by comparing the amounts of unemployment claims between the week of March 23 in 2019 v.s. March 23 in 2020.

So, how does West Virginia stack against the rest of the nation?

According to the study, West Virginia has the 5th smallest increase in unemployment due to COVID-19 with a 2,089.49% increase between last year and now.

The study also explained that the mountain state only saw an 805.75% increase from January 2020 up until March 2020. While both of these statistics show a huge increase, neither of them come close to some of the other states.

Louisiana came in first place with the biggest increase, the report stated that the state saw an increase of 5,772.15% from the previous year to now and a 5,800.48% increase from the beginning of the year to last week.

Courtesy of WalletHub

Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst explained that, although the federal government has stepped in to provide stimulus checks, they aren’t as focused as what state and local governments could be. She explained that this could help lower the amounts of unemployment claims.

“States should aggressively focus on helping the companies in the most need. The federal response will include sending checks to most citizens, even those whose income has not been affected by the coronavirus,” Gonzalez explained. “States can use a more targeted approach to divert resources to the companies affected the most, thus having maximum impact for the money spent.”

To read the full report and learn more about unemployment in the United States as a direct result of COVID-19, click here.

Those who are in need of filing for unemployment due to COVID-19, should click here to be taken to the West Virginia Workforce page where all of the information can be found.

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