Another 825 people in Clatsop County filed initial claims for unemployment insurance the week of April 4 as restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus put the economy on hold.

Nearly 1,900 people in the county have applied for unemployment insurance, according to the state Employment Department. More than half of those claims have been in leisure and hospitality, including restaurants and hotels restricted to the public by government orders.

Over the last three weeks, 269,900 Oregonians have filed unemployment claims with the state, compared to 147,800 during the Great Recession. More than 16 million Americans have lost their jobs over the past three weeks.

The Employment Department has more than quadrupled the amount of staff taking claims over the past month, so far paying out more than $28 million in benefits over the past week.

The state expects to start processing weekly $600 federal payments through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in the coming week, dramatically increasing the amount of benefits. It is also implementing the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program allowing self-employed, contract and gig workers not already eligible to receive unemployment benefits for the first time.

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