Nearly 80,000 Rhode Islanders Are Out of Work—Director of DLT Jensen Discusses Response

Thursday, March 26, 2020

 

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DLT Director Jensen on GoLocal LIVE

New numbers from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training on Thursday report that 66,000 Rhode Islanders have filed for unemployment or temporary disability insurance.

The United States Department of Labor is reporting on Thursday that unemployment claims have soared to record highs --  3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment for the latest reported week during the coronavirus crisis. 

But those numbers are low, according to Rhode Island's labor expert.

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Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen in an interview with GoLocal LIVE on Thursday morning said about the recently released federal unemployment number, "If anything, those numbers are very much understated."

"There's Gavin Newsome, Governor of California, [who] was talking just yesterday that California's true numbers are that a million people on unemployment insurance or at least applying for claims," said Jensen. "So if that bears, [which is] our experience as well, those numbers are behind and they'll catch up...next week. I expect more."

"Unemployment insurance is a social safety net program that's meant to combat recessions, and recessions come in like a cascade -- you know, the water starts to flow pretty fast but you have some time," said Jensen. "This has been like Niagara Falls. Never has anyone seen this."

"A little bit of perspective -- 5,300 claims in one week was our record week here in Rhode Island, and that was the Rhode Island Banking Crisis. We've beat that number for I think now the last 10 out of 11 days -- every day," said Jensen.

 

WATCH: Jensen's Interview Above

RI Entered Crisis with Relatively Strong Job Market

Overall employment, last reported by DLT in January, had a total of 11,607 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in January 2020, which was a decrease of 1,066 from the 12,673 filed a year ago. The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 538,600, up 1,000 from December.

Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was up 4,200 from January 2019 (534,400).

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 557,500 in January 2020, up 600 from December 2019 and up 2,700 from January 2019 (554,800). 

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New numbers from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training on Thursday report that 66,000 Rhode Islanders have filed for unemployment or temporary disability insurance.

The United States Department of Labor is reporting on Thursday that unemployment claims have soared to record highs --  3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment for the latest reported week during the coronavirus crisis. 

But those numbers are low, according to Rhode Island's labor expert.

 
 

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