HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) says they saw unemployment claims skyrocket last March and April.
The VEC says in the Shenandoah Valley, the organization saw 119 claims during the March 12 filing week before the pandemic. By the end of that month during the March 28 filing week, they say claims soared to nearly 6,300 and peaked in April with 7,900 claims.
Although those numbers have been trending downward since then, the VEC says they have been playing catch-up.
“The VEC has basically had to change the processes in very rapid fashion, had to update and make changes to their IT, their data processing capabilities, among other changes,” said VEC Senior Economist Timothy Aylor. “There’s this ongoing battle to process the large number of claims at the same time. The VEC is actively recruiting employers, actively organizing and producing job fairs around the state, all kinds of workforce development programs to get people back to work.”
Aylor says the VEC is making progress catching up with unemployment claims.
“The claims processing is going as quickly as possible, you know there has been a backlog of processing, and I believe there continues to be one,” he said. “I think the relief is going out and the claims are being processed as quickly as possible.”
Aylor adds there is reason for optimism as the state slowly opens back up, and there is pent-up demand for businesses that had to close.