Arizona first-time unemployment claims drop by thousands
PHOENIX – The number of Arizonans applying for first-time unemployment benefits fell by thousands last week, according to data released Monday.
Initial claims of 52,350 were filed for the week ending April 25. Along with continued claims from 250,507, the Arizona Department of Economic Security paid out $129,603,857 in jobless benefits.
A week ago, the office paid out a record $151 million for 226,793 claims, about 72,000 of them first-timers.
More than 470,000 workers have filed initial claims in the past six weeks during the coronavirus outbreak.
Gov. Doug Ducey has said the state would reopen the economy after health data showed it was safe. He issued a stay-at-home order that started March 31 and was to remain in place until April 30.
He planned to decide by Thursday whether to let the order expire, extend or modify it.
East Valley business leaders wrote Ducey late last week recommending the economy begin to reopen May 15.
Recommendations included a first phase that would see the reopening of movie theaters, dine-in service, sporting venues and churches.
“We need to encourage business innovation and allow businesses to phase in …. through guidance but not through inflexible mandates,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce CEO Glen Hamer told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.