By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s unemployment numbers have skyrocketed over the last three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wyoming had 4,652 new claims for unemployment insurance during the week of March 22-28, an increase of 909 from the week prior. The week of March 15-21 saw 3,743 new claims, climbing from 3,234 the week before.
Compared to the week before businesses were forced to close by the coronavirus, March 8-14, new unemployment claims have more than quadrupled, growing from 509 to 4,652.
Continued claims also rose last week, going up to 6,010 claims from 4,199 during the week of March 15-21 and 4,201 during the week of March 8-14.
Due to the significant increase in claims activity, the Department of Workforce Services has changed the way people should file their claims, said Robin Sessions Cooley, director of the DWS.
“We are seeing the effects of this virus in our Unemployment Insurance filings,” said DWS Director Robin Sessions Cooley in a news release. “Because there are many people seeking help, our telephone lines are very busy. In order to help those affected by this pandemic and meet this increased need, we have made some changes to our filing system.”
The new process will reduce the volume of calls to the call center by taking claims on specific days, based on the claimant’s last name. This alphabetical sorting system is applicable only to claims called in by phone or in person at the Workforce Centers. If someone is looking to file a claim by phone, call 307-473-3789.
If your last name begins with A-M: file your claim on Monday, Wednesday or before noon on Friday.
If your last name begins with N-Z: file your claim on Tuesday, Thursday or after noon on Friday.
Claims filed online at wyui.wyo.gov can be completed at any time, regardless of last name.