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More Utahns are dropping unemployment claims than filing new ones, as economy ramps up

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Face masks are recommended at most business in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Utah’s new unemployment claims have continued to edge down, but still have a long way to go to get to normal levels.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 6,275 state residents applied for jobless benefits last week, for a sixth consecutive weekly decline from a high of 33,000 in early April.

They are among another 2.4 million Americans seeking unemployment the week ending May 16. That brought the country to a sobering total of 38.9 million people thrown out of work, furloughed or had their pay cut during the pandemic.

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At the same time, the state Department of Workforce Services said that 6,583 Utahns had dropped their jobless claims in the week ending May 9, after 4,176 did so the week prior — the strongest sign yet of people returning to work as the state continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions. Some places have even started posting help wanted signs.

“We continue to be encouraged by the number of individuals ending their unemployment insurance claims as our economy dials back up,” Unemployment Insurance Division Director Kevin Burt said.
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