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New York State Department of Labor

The New York State Department of Labor Releases Unemployment Claims Numbers
for the Week Ending March 28

369,025 Unemployment Insurance Claims were Filed – an Increase of 2,674% compared to last year
Unemployment Claims Increased by more than 1,000% in each of New York’s Labor Markets year over year

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Albany, NY (April 02, 2020) -

The New York State Department of Labor today announced that 369,025 initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims were filed for the week ending March 28, 2020, representing an increase of 288,516 claims from the 80,509 UI claims that were filed the previous week. Compared to last year, initial claims for Unemployment Insurance in New York State for the week ending March 28, 2020, increased by 2,674%. In each of New York's 10 labor market regions, initial claims for UI increased by a minimum of 1,379% year-over-year.

The cumulative increase in March (for the weeks ending 3/14, 3/21and 3/28) was nearly 425,000 compared to the same period in 2019.

The following data compares initial UI claims for the week ending March 28, 2020 with the same period one year earlier:

  • Labor market regions with the most rapid over-the-year percentage increase in initial claims included: Long Island (+3,605%), Western NY (+3,304%), Hudson Valley (+2,773%), Capital Region (+2,768%) and Central NY (+2,765%). At the same time, initial claims for out-of-state residents grew by 1,648%.
  • On a net basis, regions with the largest over-the-year increase in initial claims included: New York City (+138,544), Long Island (+50,976), Western NY (+36,471), Hudson Valley (+33,059) and Finger Lakes (+24,089). Initial claims for out-of-state residents grew by 15,853 during this timeframe.
  • For the week ending March 28, 2020, all statewide industries experienced an increase in initial claims for Unemployment Insurance over the past year.
  • Statewide industries in New York with the most rapid over-the-year percentage increase in initial claims included: Other Services (+9,153%), Accommodation and Food Services (+4,159%), Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (+3,880%), Healthcare and Social Assistance (+3,847%) and Educational Services (+3,800%).

You can find a complete presentation of data by region and industry in the NYS DOL's Research and Statistics Initial Claims Data Report. It is important to note that this data only reflects the initial increase in claims related to COVID-19 and more comprehensive data will be available in the weeks to come.

In recent weeks, the New York State Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance filing system has faced an unprecedented increase in volume - including a 16,000% increase in phone calls and a nearly 900% increase in web traffic, compared to a typical week. In order to address this surge, the Department of Labor has:

  • Implemented a new, more efficient filing system based on the first letter of the applicant's last name (alphabetical order):
    • A - F : Monday
    • G - N : Tuesday
    • O - Z : Wednesday
    • Missed your day: Thursday through Saturday
  • Streamlined the claims process, automating additional processes and reducing the situations in which a filer has to call and speak with a representative;
  • Dedicated 700 staff to the Department of Labor's unemployment insurance Telephone Claim Center, with plans to bring hundreds of additional staff on board;
  • Extended the Telephone Claim Center's hours, including expanding service to Saturdays:
    • Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM
    • Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
    • Saturdays, 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Added over 20 additional servers to support the website's capacity; and
  • Begun working with major technology companies to further improve website and call center capacity and functionality.

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo also announced the launch of a new PSA that provides information on how to apply for unemployment benefits and reassures New Yorkers if their unemployment filing is delayed, they will still receive full unemployment benefits. The PSA is also available with Spanish subtitles here.

The New York State Department of Labor is dedicated to ensuring that every New Yorker who is entitled to UI benefits will receive all benefits due. New Yorkers seeking to file an unemployment insurance claim can visit labor.ny.gov or call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 209-8124. Below are some resources that will assist New Yorkers in filing their claims:

Unemployment Insurance FAQs

What You Need to Know and Do About the CARES Act

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