Oregon Employment Department
Emergency Messages as of 5:57 am, Sat. May. 30
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News Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Director Kay Erickson to Discuss Unemployment Claims in Oregon - 05/29/20

(Salem, OR) — Employment Department Director Kay Erickson will be holding a press availability to discuss the agency’s ongoing response for processing record levels of unemployment benefit claims in Oregon. She will be joined by unemployment policy expert and Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Division Director David Gerstenfeld.

The press availability will be held by teleconference today, Friday, May 29, at 11:00 AM Pacific Time.

Members of the media must RSVP for call-in information by emailing OED_Communications@oregon.gov by 10:45 AM.

Teleconference information will be provided to all reporters who RSVP to participate remotely. We will have an operator-assisted teleconference line available for this press conference. Thank you for working with us to ensure the health and safety of all participants.

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Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Director Kay Erickson Statement on Processing Claims in Oregon - 05/26/20

Oregon is facing unprecedented unemployment and hundreds of thousands of Oregon families are counting on unemployment benefits to pay for their basic needs. While the Oregon Employment Department has paid a record number of Oregonians within two to three weeks, for too many Oregonians, their claims are in a backlog. We know how frustrating it has been for those who are trying to reach us about the status of their claims and have been unable to get through. That is why we are launching Project Focus 100.

The goal is straightforward: to process 100 percent of the 38,000 claim backlog as quickly as possible and get Oregonians the relief they need. We will use four successful strategies:

  1. Continue surge hiring. The department has made good progress getting the staff we need to process claims quickly, increasing by six times the number of people processing claims than were in place before COVID-19 closures began. We continue hiring and training new employees to ensure every Oregonian gets the benefits they’re owed in a timely fashion.
  2. Further focus our experienced professionals on the oldest and most complex claims. For two weeks, from May 29 to June 12, we will increase our outbound calls to resolve claims for those that have been waiting the longest. To do this, our most experienced employees will take time away from answering the phones. We will also temporarily reassign job center employees to take incoming calls to help resolve questions, in all languages, relating to:
    • Address/Phone number changes
    • Looking up customer ID (CID) numbers
    • Re-setting PIN numbers
    • Issues with claiming a week of benefits online, including taking weekly certifications
    • Filing a new claim or processing an internet initial claim (except those with military, federal, or out-of-state wages)
    • Re-starting a claim
    • Checking the status of a claim (if unable to use the online claim system)
  3. Increase proactive contact and communication. We’re piloting new ways of contacting Oregonians to let them know where their claims are in the system and to solve problems. We now have pre-recorded phone messages and emails will confirm that we’ve received your PUA claim. We’re also working to add a customer service chat bot to our website.
  4. Use technology to close gaps and improve service. We have identified strategies that move claims out of processing traps that can hang them up. That has already moved thousands of claims through processing. We will continue using these strategies to speed up processing and get Oregonians whose claims have been stuck the benefits they’re owed.

We continue to add new metrics to our online dashboard so that Oregonians can watch our progress. We’ll continue to be transparent about where we are and our progress toward our goals. Navigating this crisis is a collective effort, and Oregonians know how to work together to overcome hard challenges. We’ll get through this together.


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Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Available in Oregon - 05/21/20

Starting today, the Oregon Employment Department is providing unemployment benefits through the CARES Act Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. PEUC is a 13-week extension of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for claimants who have run out of regular benefits.

PEUC provides the same weekly amount as a claimant’s regular benefit amount. Individuals receiving PEUC also are eligible to receive the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit for each eligible week between March 29 and July 25, 2020. PEUC is retroactive to March 29, 2020, the first payable week of the program, and lasts for up to 13 eligible weeks of benefits through December 26, 2020.

Eligibility
There are two ways to be eligible for PEUC benefits. The first is if someone has used up all benefits from a current claim for regular unemployment benefits, but the period of the claim has not expired, and a person does not have another regular unemployment claim available to them in another state. The second is if someone was unemployed, ran out of regular unemployment benefits after July 1, 2019, and a person does not have another regular unemployment claim available to them in another state.

Those eligible for regular unemployment benefits are not eligible for PEUC until those other benefits are exhausted.

How to Apply
We cannot accept your application for PEUC until you have run out of benefits, or unless your claim is expired. There are three ways to apply for PEUC:

  • Online Claim System – If you have exhausted your regular unemployment benefits, your claim has not expired, and you file weekly using our Online Claims System, you will be presented with an option to file for PEUC when you submit your weekly claim for the first week with a $0 balance. If you select this option, you will automatically be placed into the PEUC program. Make sure you continue filing a claim for benefits each week.
  • Secure Upload – If your claim for regular unemployment benefits already expired and you are eligible for PEUC, you will receive a letter from us instructing you how to complete the PUEC application and how to restart your claim. You can apply using the secure upload.
  • Mail – If you are eligible for PEUC but cannot access our electronic systems you can mail your application. The application is available here on the CARES Act page of our website or by calling 503-947-1563 and leaving a message requesting an application.

More PEUC information and application materials can be found on the CARES Act page.

 

Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: COVID-19 Leads to Oregon's Record Job Losses in April - 05/19/20

Public health measures implemented in March to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19 are having an unprecedented economic impact on Oregon and the United States. April provides the first full month of data measuring the initial impact on businesses and the unemployed.

“Today’s release shows that 266,600 jobs were lost in the first two months of this pandemic and the unemployment rate has reached 14.2 percent. While these numbers make for shocking historical records, they cannot totally capture the economic trauma so many Oregonians are experiencing at this time,” said Anna Johnson, Senior Economic Analyst with the Oregon Employment Department.

Oregon’s unemployment rate rose from a near-record-low 3.5 percent, as revised, in March to a record-high 14.2 percent in April, as COVID-19 business closures shut down a large portion of the economy. This is the highest rate and the largest over-the-month increase in the history of the series (comparable data are available back to 1976). The number of unemployed Oregonians rose by 227,530, to reach 300,420 in April. These sharp increases reflect the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it. The U.S. unemployment rate rose from 4.4 percent in March to 14.7 percent in April.

Oregon’s payroll employers shed 253,400 jobs in April, following a loss of 13,200, as revised, in March. In April, one out of every eight jobs in Oregon was idled or lost. Leisure and hospitality took the brunt of the impact of pandemic-induced closures. The industry lost more than half of its jobs (-54.6%) in one month. Job losses were widespread throughout the economy though. No sector in Oregon gained jobs in April. Other industries that were hardest hit in April were health care and social assistance (-26,800 jobs), retail trade (-22,500), professional and business services (-19,200), government (-13,100), other services (-12,900), construction (-12,000), and manufacturing (-11,600).

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the April county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Wednesday, May 27th, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for May on Tuesday, June 16th.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The PDF version of the news release, including tables and graphs, can be found at www.QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit www.QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

For help finding jobs and training resources, visit one of the state's WorkSource Oregon centers or go to: www.WorkSourceOregon.org.

 

Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Initial Claims and Unemployment Benefits in Oregon - 05/14/20

During the week of May 3 to May 9, 2020, the Oregon Employment Department received 14,100 initial claims for unemployment benefits. The agency has received 396,000 initial claims since COVID-19 business closures began in mid-March. 

Helping Oregonians

Almost nine out of 10 (86%) initial claims for regular unemployment benefits received between March 15 and May 9 have been processed. For each of the past five weeks, more claims for regular benefits have been processed than received in Oregon.

The record-level claims processing by the Employment Department continues to help communities across Oregon as the economy transitions to re-opening. If measured by dollars paid, Unemployment Insurance would now be the largest paying subsector of Oregon’s economy. By comparison, unemployment benefits would have ranked 37th by payroll prior to the COVID-19 closures.

Still, tens of thousands of unemployment claims remain unprocessed, and some have been waiting for benefits for six or seven weeks. The Employment Department recognizes the importance to getting benefits to everyone who needs them. The agency continues expanding its capacity, with a new contact center now open, and a total of 690 employees processing claims. Claims processing continues seven days per week. The Employment Department also continues to make thousands of call-backs every day to Oregonians who need to have their claims processed.

Next week the Employment Department plans to issue two news releases. Oregon’s unemployment rate for April is scheduled to be published at 10:00 a.m. on May 19. The Employment Department also expects launch of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program next week. PEUC provides 13 weeks of additional benefits for those who have run out of regular benefits, and remain out of work due to COVID-19 closures.

Initial unemployment claims data will continue to be updated each Thursday on the QualityInfo.org COVID-19 page. Information about new unemployment benefit programs, questions about resuming business operations, and other resources continue to be updated regularly on the Employment Department’s COVID-19 page.

Initial Claims

The Employment Department has detailed information for about 25,000 of the 32,000 initial claims processed during the week of May 3 to May 9. The greatest number of initial claims continued to come from the accommodation and food services sector, with 68,400 initial claims filed in the industry since March 15. Other sectors with the largest number of initial claims totals since March 15 include health care and social assistance (43,100) and retail trade (36,400). However, every sector of the economy has seen increased claims activity.

Multnomah (5,500), Washington (3,200), and Clackamas (2,400) counties had the largest number of claims during the week of May 3 to May 9. More initial claims data by industry and area can be found on the QualityInfo.org COVID-19 page.

 

To file an online claim for unemployment benefits, go to Oregon.gov/employ or call 1-877-FILE-4-UI. For help finding jobs and training resources, contact your local WorkSource Oregon center or go to WorkSourceOregon.org. Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Initial Claims and Unemployment Benefits in Oregon - 05/07/20

******** The Oregon Employment Department and other state agencies have been experiencing intermittent connectivity issues today. This is not caused by our systems, although they are affected. The state data center is working to restore full connectivity to all affected agencies. We will post updates at twitter.com/oremployment as they become available. ******** 

 

During the week of April 26 to May 2, the Oregon Employment Department received 19,600 initial claims for unemployment benefits. The agency has received more than 381,800 initial claims since COVID-19 businesses closures began in mid-March.

Helping Oregonians

Four out of five (83%) initial claims for regular unemployment benefits received between March 15 and May 2 have been processed. For each of the past four weeks, more claims have been processed than received in Oregon.

The Employment Department has also processed more than 10,000 applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits for the self-employed, contract, gig, and other workers not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

The agency continues expanding its ability to process more claims for unemployment benefits. There are currently 635 employees working unemployment claims, with more hiring underway and a new contact center opening next week. Claims processing continues seven days per week.

In addition to more staffing, the Employment Department also continues working to implement more unemployment benefit programs. Programming and testing is underway for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. This provides up to 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for those who have run out of benefits and remain out of work due to COVID-19 business closures. Program eligibility and more details for this and other programs are available in the CARES Act section of the agency’s COVID-19 page.

Initial Claims

The Employment Department has detailed information of about 30,300 of the 45,100 initial claims processed during the week of April 26 to May 2. The greatest number of initial claims continued to come from the accommodation and food services sector, with 64,700 initial claims filed in the industry since March 15. Other sectors with the largest initial claims totals since March 15 include health care and social assistance (39,700) and retail trade (33,100).

Every sector of the economy has seen increased claims activity. Accommodation and food services’ share of total claims is declining, although the industry still accounts for 28 percent of initial claims since mid-March. Shares of total initial claims are increasing in retail trade, manufacturing, administrative and waste services, and wholesale trade.

Multnomah (6,500), Washington (3,900), and Clackamas (2,900) counties had the largest number of claims during the week of April 26 to May 2. More initial claims data by industry and area can be found on the QualityInfo.org COVID-19 page.

To file an online claim for unemployment benefits, go to Oregon.gov/employ or call 1-877-FILE-4-UI. For help finding jobs and training resources, contact your local WorkSource Oregon center or go to WorkSourceOregon.org. Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.