Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Region unemployment claims skyrocket in COVID-19 crisis; statewide jump doubles that of Great Recession
topical urgent

Region unemployment claims skyrocket in COVID-19 crisis; statewide jump doubles that of Great Recession

About 3.7% of working Hoosiers lose jobs in one week, unemployment claims skyrocket by 6,709%

Unemployment claims soared by 6,709% in Indiana last week.

The numbers are eye-popping.

After the coronavirus pandemic shut down restaurants, bars and many non-essential businesses, Indiana saw a staggering 2,873.3% jump in initial unemployment claims last week, the state reports.

In Lake County, unemployment claims skyrocketed by 1,810.0% to 3,820 in the week that ended March 21, according to Hoosiers by the Numbers. 

Porter County saw a 2,994% jump to 1,547 unemployment claims last week.

In LaPorte County, claims for unemployment benefits rocketed 2,282.9% to 977 last week, according to Hoosiers by the Numbers. Jasper County saw a 1,578.6% surge to 235 unemployment claims last week.

Coronavirus-related mass layoffs surge across Indiana, including at DirectBuy
U.S. Steel idling plants in Texas and Ohio, laying off up to 850 in COVID-19 fallout

Newton County had 54 unemployment claims, Pulaski 46, and Starke 143 last week, all jumps of at least 100%.

Nationally, unemployment claims totaled a record 3.3 million last week, which was more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In Indiana last week, Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered a shutdown of bars, nightclubs and restaurants — except for carryout and delivery. Public health authorities encouraged people to practice social distancing and avoid groups of more than 10 people to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Movie theaters, auto factories, retailers, gyms and many other businesses across Northwest Indiana and the nation voluntarily shut down to stop the spread of the virus, which has resulted in more than 1,000 deaths in the United States.

In the Hoosier state, unemployment claims grew by 28.1% to 2,312 statewide in the week ending March 14, after the National Basketball Association and other professional sports leagues started shutting down seasons.

Ford restarting some factories but not the Chicago Assembly Plant
Gary Works steel mill to take blast furnace #4 offline in April

Then last week, initial unemployment claims soared by a staggering 2,873.3%, according to Hoosiers by the Numbers. Indiana residents filed a record 62,777 unemployment claims last week, according to The Department of Workforce Development.

That's more than double the previous record of 27,937 unemployment claims filed during the week that ended on December 27 in 2008, during the depth of the Great Recession.

Indiana governor orders Hoosiers to stay home until April 7, except for essential needs
Chicago Assembly Plant, other Ford plants won't reopen as planned on March 30

Gallery: Once-bustling Region sites empty as COVID-19 infects NWI

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News


Entertainment & Dining

Latest News

Local Sports

NWI Prep Sport News

Weather Alerts