A total of 1.2 million benefit claims have now been completed within the last five weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has crippled the state’s workforce — but the state is still processing some.
“There’s 275,000 claims that are outstanding,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa told reporters in Albany, citing the latest data from the week ending April 11, posted by the State Department of Labor Thursday.
“Some of those people are from the last week, some of those people, unfortunately date back to the middle of March. Most of the people who date back to the middle of March are people who require additional forms.”
The agency had to hire an extra 600 employees and revamp its entire website to keep up with the overwhelming influx of individuals filing for benefits, leading to a backlog of applications.
DOL data shows accommodation and food services industries have been the hardest hit, with 248,355 claims filed between March 14 and April 11.
Retail followed with 162,356 claims, and healthcare and social assistance clocked 131,204 claims.
Overall, New York City outranked every other region in the state, with 521,112 initial claims filed. Long Island came in second with 176,539 claims and the Hudson Valley followed in third with 110,602 claims.
Meanwhile, statewide unemployment during March reached 4.5%, an increase from 3.7% in February.
The number of private sector jobs decreased over the month by 42,900 — or 0.5% — to 8,315,700.
It was also the Empire State’s biggest monthly employment drop since April 2009.
“To give you guys a sense of comparison, during the entirety of the 2008 crash, New York State lost 300,000 jobs,” De Rosa explained.