Ala. sees lowest initial unemployment claims since pandemic began

More than 100,00 people are still receiving unemployment benefits in Alabama

Ala. sees lowest initial unemployment claims since pandemic began
Unemployment numbers are out again, and less people in Alabama are filing claims. But what’s behind this decrease? ADOL said there may be several reasons for that decrease: obviously, many people are going back to work, and the department has gotten better at detecting fraud. (Source: WBRC)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - After months of abnormally high unemployment claims, the state received its lowest number of initial claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

About 7,800 claims were filed for the week ending in Aug. 28. Out of that number, about 4,400 were COVID-19 related.

Click here to view the number of claims by county.

“Even though things seem to have improved a little bit, we’re certainly still not out of the woods,” said Alabama Department of Labor spokeswoman Tara Hutchison.

There are still about 150,000 continued claims, which means the state is still dishing out millions of dollars for those who are unemployed or underemployed and have had their wages reduced.

“So we’re doing we’re continue to work as hard as we possibly can,” Hutchison said. “And to come up with even more plans and options to make everything to make the payments come faster.”

The federal government is giving some unemployed Alabamians a boost of $300 on top of the current state money they receive. That money was sent out last Friday and should be hitting people’s bank accounts.

For those who are eligible, they would receive $1,200 from the federal government to cover four weeks beginning Aug. 1.

To be eligible for the new benefit, recipients must receive at least $100 in an approved Unemployment Compensation (UC) program weekly benefit amount and must certify they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“If someone hasn’t received that yet, it’s probably likely due to yesterday being a banking holiday, which could could delay payments a little bit,” Hutchison said.

She said ADOL needs to continue applying to FEMA every week in order to keep sending out those extra $300 from the feds.

The state’s trust fund that dishes out unemployment funds, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, is rapidly declining. It’s now left with about $155 million and previously had about $700 million prior to the pandemic.

Hutchison said it could be as little as four weeks before that money runs out. ADOL has begun the process to borrow money from the federal government once that $155 million is gone.

*Data below from the Alabama Department of Labor

Date Initial Claims Filed Date Initial Claims Filed
8/29/2020 7,823 5/30/2020 21,335
8/22/2020 8,676 5/23/2020 27,920
8/15/2020 11,048 5/16/2020 25,150
8/8/2020 9,468 5/9/2020 26,666
8/1/2020 11,692 5/2/2020 28,985
7/25/2020 17,439 4/25/2020 74,966
7/18/2020 23,678 4/18/2020 66,432
7/11/2020 20,505 4/11/2020 77,515
7/4/2020 19,058 4/4/2020 106,739
6/27/2020 18,340 3/28/2020 80,984
6/20/2020 18,671 3/21/2020 10,982
6/13/2020 18,367 3/14/2020 1,824
6/6/2020 19,950

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