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More than 21,000 Rhode Islanders filed unemployment claims in the past week

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training reported that another 21,000 Rhode Islanders filed for unemployment in the past week.
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training reported that another 21,000 Rhode Islanders filed for unemployment in the past week.David Goldman/Associated Press

PROVIDENCE -- Rhode Island’s jobless claims are up to more than 180,000 for the year so far, as another 21,047 new claims have been filed since April 16.

The state Department of Labor and Training reported the latest numbers on Thursday.

Of the past week’s applications, 12,958 are coronavirus-specific claims and 7,198 were made under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, or PUA, which covers up to 39 weeks of unemployment for people who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, such as the self-employed and independent contractors. The federal government will pick up the cost of this expanded eligibility.

Rhode Island is one of the top states in the nation in its share of unemployment claims as a percentage of the civilian labor force, at 17.5 percent as of April 18, according to a report by the Tax Foundation.

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The peak day was April 7, when people could apply for the PUA program, said DLT spokeswoman Angelika Pellegrino. On that day, there were a total of 15,836 people applying for unemployment, including 11,598 applying for the PUA and 4,118 for COVID-specific claims.

Overall, Rhode Island has a total of 137,754 that are COVID-specific claims and 35,031 are claims under PUA.



Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.