Jobless claims soar in Missouri

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By Jordan Meier, Missouri News Network

Missouri received more unemployment claims last week than in all of 2019, and the rising number of claims due to coronavirus was heavily discussed during Gov. Mike Parson’s daily briefing Tuesday.

Last week alone the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations took over 104,000 claims, director Anna Hui said. The volume of claims the department is receiving even trumps the number they were getting during the height of the 2008-2009 recession.

“To date, we’ve already taken more claims in the last few weeks than the entire year of 2019,” Hui said.

In response to the high volume of calls and traffic her department is getting during this time, Hui has asked the public to take a few steps before trying to call.

First, she urged those with questions to look at the Frequently Asked Questions on the department’s website.

“The answers on the website will be exactly the same as the answers the staff are going to give you,” she said.

Second, she advised those with further questions to watch the videos on the website. The videos explain how to file a claim, what to expect after filing and how to file a weekly claim, among other topics.

“We understand there are a lot of people new to the unemployment program,” Hui said. “These videos can help explain the program process and the benefits.”

She stressed that her department is working hard trying to get as many questions and claims answered as they can, as quickly as they can.

“We hope that you will treat our team members with courtesy and recognize that they are helping thousands of people each day through every resource we have available to us,” she said.