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More than a year's worth of unemployment claims filed in Alabama in just a few weeks

The Alabama Department of Labor said it's working to re-purpose staff to help process the large volume of claims they've received due to the economic effects of the coronavirus.

Posted: Apr 9, 2020 12:36 AM
Updated: Apr 9, 2020 7:59 AM

As the coronavirus continues to spread across Alabama, tens of thousands of people have filed for unemployment benefits due to businesses being shut down.

Within a few weeks, the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) has taken in more than a year's worth of unemployment claims.

Alabama Department of Labor website Alabama Department of Labor website

"We're taking a record number of claims over the past several weeks," said Tara Hutchison, the communications director for ADOL. "As of [Monday], we've taken about 206,000 initial unemployment claims. To put that in perspective, for the entirety of 2019, we took 130,000."

According to numbers published by the ADOL, there were 10,892 initial claims filed during the week ending on March 21. Over the following week, that number spiked to 80,984 initial claims. 

One of those who had to file a claim for the first time is Shelly Wilbanks. The Jackson County resident was contracted to work as an athletic trainer for both Section High School and Sylvania High School and had been with them for 17 and seven years respectively.

She said it was a sad day when the schools were closed and she learned she wouldn't be able to work with student atheltes for the rest of the school year.

"Not only do I have my own two kids at home, but I think of all my athletes as my kids," said Wilbanks.

Wilbanks said she was able to successfully file two weeks worth of claims online, but said she's still waiting for the first paycheck to come in.

"It's just so frustrating because I still haven't gotten paid for it and we still don't know about the whole $600 that the federal is going to put in it per week," said Wilbanks.

ADOL officials advised that payment for unemployment claims could take up to 21 days due to the volume.

Hutchison said that since the start of the outbreak in Alabama, the ADOL has been working to improve its website as well as  bolster its staff that's processing claims and taking phone calls.

"We're in the process of retraining and re-utilizing employees from other divisions to help with that backlog. And we're also considering outsourcing to a third-party vendor for another call center," said Hutchison.

She said between 100 and 120 Career Center employees were being retrained for the effort and that the number could grow, depending on the need.

Meanwhile, until she can return to working with athletes, Wilbanks said she's left in limbo.

"It's very frustrating, very frustrating. We have bills coming in, so they've got to be paid one way or another," said Wilbanks.

New unemployment claims data is published every Thursday by the ADOL.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18766

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2284118
Jefferson1884103
Montgomery182343
Tuscaloosa82216
Marshall7059
Franklin5788
Lee55834
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43266
Butler41918
Walker3812
Elmore3729
Chambers35926
Madison3464
Morgan2981
Unassigned2972
Baldwin2929
Dallas2873
Etowah26212
Lowndes25912
DeKalb2573
Autauga2395
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2156
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1799
Russell1770
Barbour1771
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1692
Calhoun1653
Wilcox1547
Choctaw15310
Cullman1501
Clarke1492
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1051
Greene954
Winston910
Macon874
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe452
Geneva440
Perry420
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 24833

Reported Deaths: 388
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson542965
Shelby5428119
Trousdale13944
Rutherford132128
Hamilton93516
Sumner93146
Lake8350
Bledsoe6101
Williamson57711
Putnam5196
Robertson5165
Tipton4593
Wilson4428
Knox4365
Out of TN4264
Bedford2954
Montgomery2833
Rhea2140
Hardeman2010
Madison1732
Bradley1611
Unassigned1610
Macon1583
Loudon1570
McMinn14414
Cheatham1350
Fayette1252
Cumberland1191
Dickson1180
Maury1050
Sevier942
Blount933
Washington750
Coffee740
Monroe692
Wayne640
Gibson631
Sullivan602
Lauderdale591
Hickman580
Dyer570
Franklin541
Greene522
Unicoi480
Obion433
Hamblen432
Marion421
Anderson411
DeKalb380
Smith371
White340
Hawkins342
Marshall331
Lawrence330
Haywood332
Overton320
Cannon320
Grundy311
Henry310
Lincoln290
Jefferson280
Carroll281
Meigs270
Weakley260
Warren260
Perry240
Hardin222
Cocke210
Sequatchie190
Carter191
Johnson190
Jackson190
Polk180
Campbell181
Morgan170
Roane160
Crockett162
Humphreys151
McNairy150
Henderson150
Stewart130
Claiborne120
Chester120
Fentress120
Giles120
Scott120
Grainger110
Clay80
Houston80
Benton71
Moore50
Decatur50
Van Buren40
Union40
Pickett30
Lewis30
Hancock10

 

 

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