CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The number of businesses closing or scaling back operations in West Virginia has sent claims for unemployment benefits surging.
A total of 3,435 West Virginia residents applied for unemployment assistance last week, compared with 865 claims in the previous week, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
That number is destined to go higher. Gov. Jim Justice ordered nonessential businesses to close on Monday.
It's the highest number of claims since 3,791 claims were made on Jan. 9, 2016, when economists said the state was in a recession, mostly due to job losses in the coal industry.
The highest numbers of claims this century in West Virginia was in January 2010 when claims peaked at 5,445, the Labor Department said.
WorkForce West Virginia said unemployment claims can be done through one of its local offices, online or by mail.
Weekly benefit amounts are based on the wages paid during the base period, which must have exceeded $2,200. Applicants could be asked to provide a Social Security card and a photo identification, such as a valid driver’s license.