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Unemployment claims in Kansas increases by 1,250%

The number of jobless workers in Kansas who filed initial unemployment claims last week was 12 times as high as it was the week before as measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus took their toll on the economy.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that Kansas had almost 23,700 initial claims for unemployment for the seven-day period ending Saturday.  The department said the figure for the previous week was less than 1,800, making the increase 1,250%.  It was by far the largest percentage jump in at least 20 years.  The previous high mark for the past two decades was 242% in June 2003, according to federal data.

More than 1.7 million of the state’s 2.9 million residents are covered by local stay-at-home orders.  Governor Laura Kelly has banned public gatherings of more than 10 people.

Kansas has seen its confirmed coronavirus cases grow more than four times over the past seven days to more than 120, according to the state health department, and there have been three COVID-19-related deaths since early March.

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