Number of North Dakotans filing for unemployment benefits the lowest its been in 3 weeks

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 6:41 PM CDT
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New unemployment data paints a grim picture nationally as a record number of Americans file for unemployment benefits. Yet in North Dakota, there’s a reason to be optimistic.

There was a decrease in filings in the state last week compared to the previous two weeks.

“There's probably less people getting laid off,” Carey Fry, manager of the Workforce Center in Fargo, said. “ I think more people are getting through the system of filing and that was actually a welcome thing to see.”

The number of people who filed for unemployment last week were 10,500, according to North Dakota’s economic data. The previous week it was 16,000 and prior to that it was 12,600.

“The phones are still really crazy all day. But for the most part, people are super polite and super thankful,” Fry said.

According to Job Service North Dakota, the people seeking unemployment benefits represent a cross section of jobs.

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of those who applied were people working in bars, restaurants, and hotels.

Yet, the current shift is for workers in the manufacturing sector.

Fry said people must certify every week, or their unemployment benefits will be turned off.

“Say that you're available for work each week, and be available,” Fry said. “And make sure you go and certify every week. It may seem like a little thing, and it really truly is a little thing, but if you don't do it, it'll put a stop on your claim.”

Fry added that most of the unemployed should get the extra $600 a week in their benefits by next week. That money became available after the federal government passed the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill.

For the North Dakotans who are small business owners, gig workers, and independent contractors, the system to receive unemployment benefits is still not ready. However, you are still encouraged to apply.