Md. jobless claims dominated by nontraditional workers

For the first time since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, nontraditional workers seeking unemployment benefits in Maryland outpaced those of traditional filers, according to state Labor Department data.

Maryland added more than 56,100 new unemployment claims in the last week. The number of first-time claims for the week ending June 27 was driven by claims from nontraditional workers who in many cases are not typically covered by unemployment benefits or had previously exhausted them.

In all, 34,197 so-called gig workers, independent contractors and those who had their benefits extended under the federal CARES act made up more than 6 of every 10 people who applied for benefits last week. Nearly 22,000 traditional claims were filed during the same period.

The 56,126 claims for the week — the largest number of first-time claims for any week in the month of June — brings the total number of people who have filed for benefits in Maryland at some point during the last 15 weeks to  899,178.

Some of those workers likely either returned to their jobs or found other employment.

The total for the reporting period does not include more than 5,600 whose claims were reclassified by the state Department of Labor.

Nearly 200,000 Marylanders filed for benefits between June 1 and June 27 — about 9,000 fewer than the month before.

Maryland and the nation have seen the economy severely impacted by efforts to control the virus.

Gov. Larry Hogan in recent weeks has announced a series of eased restrictions that have allowed businesses to reopen. Nearly three weeks ago, the second-term Republican allowed  restaurants to open for limited indoor dining and casinos to begin to reopen.

On Monday, the total number of new cases increased in Maryland by 272 while hospitalizations dropped by six cases to a total of 403.

The state has seen a decrease in daily confirmed cases as well as overall hospitalizations and use of intensive care beds.  By contrast, cases and the use of intensive care beds are spiking in many states around the country, particularly in the South and West.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the economy added 4.8 million jobs  as the national unemployment rate for the month fell to 11.1%. It is not yet known how many of those were in Maryland.

In May, the state reported adding nearly 30,000 jobs even as nearly 209,000 residents applied for benefits in the same month, dropping the unemployment rate to 9.9%, a figure that was about three times higher than the same period a year ago.



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