Mississippi’s unemployment claims dip slightly, but remain high – more than 200,000 claims since virus crisis started

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, April 30, 2020

Mississippi processed fewer unemployment claims last week than the week before, but the state is still seeing dramatically more claims than usual as businesses struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. is seeing its highest unemployment since the Great Depression. Mississippi processed 201,890 claims for unemployment benefits between March 14 and the week that ended Saturday, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Employment and Training Administration.

The agency said 35,843 of the claims in Mississippi were made during the most recent week of the reporting period, down 3% from the previous week. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said the state typically receives fewer than 1,000 unemployment claims a week.

“Mississippians are struggling under the economic burden of this pandemic,” Reeves said Thursday on Twitter. “But no one should ever have to worry about keeping food on the table.”
Reeves eased some business restrictions this week, allowing some to reopen with limits on how many customers may be present.

The state Health Department said Thursday that Mississippi had at least 6,815 confirmed cases and 261 deaths from the coronavirus as of Wednesday evening. That was an increase of 246 cases and 11 deaths from the previous day. The state’s population is about 3 million.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

The Health Department said Thursday at least 66,000 coronavirus tests had been done in Mississippi. The department did not release the number of cases confirmed at long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Its website said the numbers would return Friday.

The governor’s “safer at home” order started Monday, replacing a stricter stay-at-home order that was in place for more than three weeks. The new order remains in effect until the morning of May 11. In addition to letting more businesses reopen, it allows physicians to start offering some services that had been limited in recent weeks. Restaurants are still restricted to carry-out or delivery. Barber shops, salons, tattoo parlors and entertainment venues such as movie theaters remain closed. Gatherings of 10 or more people are still banned.