Unemployment rates continue to rise as the nation enters its sixth week of increases.

The state of Utah received 11,830 initial unemployment insurance claims from April 19-25, and weekly claims reached 105,010, according to a press release by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

These numbers reflect a 40% drop in the number of new claims filed compared to the previous week and a 10% increase in the number of weekly claims filed week over week.

“A decreasing trend in new unemployment insurance claims continued this week though still at a record high compared to pre-pandemic volumes,” Unemployment Insurance Division Director Kevin Burt said in a statement. “We are encouraged and hopeful to hear from both employers and employees who are returning to work as restrictions begin lifting and assistance like PPP loans are available for employers.”

Utah County residents made up 14.3% of new employment claims, with about 1,691 individuals filing from across the county.

Salt Lake County maintained its position as the county with the highest number of individuals filing for unemployment insurance. The county’s residents made up 39.3% of the initial unemployment insurance claims, with about 4,649 individuals who filed residing in Salt Lake County.

Davis, Weber and Washington counties also made the top five counties in the state for the sixth consecutive week.

Davis County had the third-highest number of new unemployment insurance claims with about 1,017 residents filing over the span of a week, making up about 8.6% of initial claims.

Weber County was right behind with 7.8%, or about 922 residents. About 437 Washington County residents filed from initial unemployment insurance from April 19-25, making up 3.7% of new claims.

Office and administrative support, sales and related occupations, and food preparation and serving continued to be the top three industries most impacted by unemployment.

Of the individuals who filed for unemployment, 14% self reported having worked in office and administrative positions, 10.5% reported fulfilling sales or related duties, and 9% reported working in the food and service industry.

Nationally, 3.84 million filed initial claims, bringing the estimated number of people receiving unemployment benefits to about 30.3 million, with roughly 1 in 5 American workers without a job, according to a press release by the U.S. Department of Labor.

From April 19-25, the Utah Department of Workforce Services paid $22,647,841 in traditional unemployment benefits, including benefits paid and claims processed.

An additional $40,440,870 was paid to claimants who qualified for the $600 weekly stimulus check. In total, the department paid $63,088,711, a 30% increase from the previous week.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services also announced Thursday that as the economy reopens and restrictions begin to lift, any refusal of a suitable job offer may be considered a “quit” and the claimant receiving benefits through unemployment insurance would be made ineligible for further assistance.

Additionally, if a resident does not disclose the refusal of a suitable job offer, the claimant receiving benefits may be required to pay back any benefits they received and could face criminal charges for fraud.

“We are encouraged to hear from both employers and employees that they are beginning to return to work,” executive director Jon Pierpont said in a statement. “Unemployment benefits can serve as an important and helpful tool for dialing the economy back up, but they must be used correctly.”

As Utahns begin to re-enter the workforce, it is not necessary that they contact the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Residents who return to full-time employment can simply stop filing weekly claims, and they will stop receiving benefits.

Utah residents can file new and weekly unemployment insurance claims online. Additional information also is available for those whose employment was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic on a webpage created by the Department of Workforce Services.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!