/ Modified apr 28, 2020 10:01 a.m.

First-time unemployment claims decrease in Arizona

The numbers are still nearly double what they were a month ago.

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AZPM Staff

The economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reduce Arizona’s labor force.

The latest numbers from the Arizona Department of Economic Security showed 52,350 people filed first-time unemployment claims in Arizona the week ending April 25. That is a 20,000-person decrease over the week before.

The the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits, however, rose to 250,507, a 47% increase over the week before.

First-time claims peaked the week ending April 4 at 132,382. Gov. Doug Ducey issued the state's stay-at-home order, which closed many businesses, on March 30.

Before the pandemic, Arizona’s unemployment numbers were stable. Most weeks in January and February saw about 3,000 people file first-time claims and about 18,000 continue to receive benefits.

Protesters at the state Capitol last week called for Ducey to let the stay-at-home order expire on April 30 so people can return to work. Medical experts say governors should not lift those orders until a state is well past its peak of coronavirus cases.

Ducey announced a three-weekend "testing blitz" to as much as double the number of people checked for the virus. The data gained from those tests could help state leaders decide when to begin a phased reopening of businesses across Arizona.

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