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Full Impact Of Coronavirus Layoffs Yet To Be Seen

Tiffany Eckert

The numbers for unemployment claims in Oregon are still being tallied, but the initial figures are grim.

The Oregon Employment Department says more than 18,000 people filed initial claims on Tuesday alone. That compares to about 4,000 new claims per week in February.  And with more companies laying off workers each day, those numbers are expected to keep rising.

Brian Rooney is a Eugene-based labor economist for the Oregon Employment Department. He said county-level figures aren't available yet, but Lane County usually tracks fairly close to statewide data in terms of trends.

“Before the virus situation, we were seeing record low unemployment rates in Lane County, and fairly strong employment growth, although it was slowing,” he said.

One business leader told state lawmakers this week that she expects statewide unemployment to rise to as much as 20 percent due to the effects from the coronavirus outbreak.

Not all businesses are shedding jobs. The Oregonian reports that some employers are hiring to meet increasing demand, especially in the food production and grocery industries.

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