Governor says North Dakota has set a record for unemployment claims

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) The North Dakota Governor announced the state has reached a record for unemployment filings in the last nine days.

In his briefing on Thursday, Governor Doug Burgum said just under 14,000 people have applied for unemployment during that time span.

Data from the state’s website showed those working in the accommodation and food sector have made the most filings.

Charles Kesler is co-owner of the tattoo parlor Dead Rockstar. He said his business was one of the first to close following the coronavirus outbreak.

“I didn't feel right putting our clients in that spot and possibly exposing all of us to it,” Kesler said.

Kesler said he has applied for an emergency loan through the Small Business Administration.

“We encouraged some of our employees to file for unemployment for the time being. We're trying to take care of our people too,” Kesler said.

He’s also asking his customers to buy gift cards for the tattoo shop through the store’s website deadrockstar.net.

Nearly 6,000 North Dakotans applied for unemployment during the week ending March 21, according to the state.

During the previous week ending March 14, there were 541 people who applied.

Cass County had the most unemployment filings with hotels, restaurants, and bars being hit the hardest.

“The service sector has been destroyed, okay. Restaurants, tourism, travel. That's all gone,” Dr. Robert Hearne, professor in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University, said.

Hearne said that industry should rebound quickly once the coronavirus pandemic passes.

“There might be businesses that use this opportunity to kind of change the way they do things,” Hearne said.

Cowboy Jacks in downtown Fargo laid off employees, although a man we spoke to over the phone didn’t want to confirm how many.

There are many things included in the new $2,2 trillion federal stimulus bill. One is those who are already receiving unemployment benefits would get an extra $600 a week for the next four months.

The U.S. House is expected to vote on the bill on Friday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying it should pass and go to President Donald Trump for his signature.