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State unemployment claims on the decline

State unemployment claims on the decline State unemployment claims on the decline

Unemployment claims continue to decline. That was part of the update today (April 30) at the Indiana Statehouse led by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. (Gov. Eric Holcomb was at a Kokomo plant and joined the update for the question-and-answer portion of the update.

Fred Payne, commissioner of Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said there were 57,397 initial unemployment claims last week, which is still extremely high compared to the numbers before the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Payne addressed some questions regarding unemployment benefits as Hoosiers look to a possible return to work in May. That included how a person’s unemployment insurance would change if a worker felt unsafe or uncomfortable to return to their place of employment.

“Generalized fear of the virus itself would likely result in benefit being denied as a work refusal,” Payne said.

He added his office doesn’t look into safety measures an office puts into place to keep employees safe and healthy. He added his office can, however, consider these factors when deciding if an employee is refusing to return to work or should continue receiving unemployment benefits.

During the update, it was reported that another 669 positive cases were identified, bringing the state’s total to 17,835 individuals. Another 44 people have died, including the first Hoosier who was younger than 19. To date, 1,007 Hoosiers have died from the virus. In the past 24 hours, 3,475 additional Hoosiers were tested. There are now 94,998 people in Indiana who have received a test.

Tomorrow, Holcomb will provide an update to his “stay-at-home” order which is set to expire after Friday.