Unemployment Claims Skyrocket in Tennessee


The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has reportedly received a dramatic increase in unemployment benefit claims.

People filed slightly more than 2,000 claims the first week of this month — but they filed more than 6,000 claims the second week of this month.

This comes as the coronavirus emergency forces businesses across the state to shut down.

The Nashville-based WSMV reported Wednesday that unemployment benefit claims have tripled in just one week’s time.

“We have not seen an influx of unemployment claims like this since the recession back in 2009,” Department of Labor spokesman Chris Cannon reportedly told the station.

“If an employer files a mass layoff claim, they give us some pertinent information about the employees upfront and when that employee then goes to file their claim, the computer matches it up and sends the claim much faster.”

WSMV reported that “many normal unemployment restrictions are still in place, like job searching.”

As The Tennessee Star reported Thursday, officials in Nashville have set up a fund to help people who have fallen ill to the coronavirus or lost their jobs or number of working hours because of it.

Nashville Democratic Mayor John Cooper announced the fund at a press conference Wednesday.

Cooper said small businesses facing hardships may also take advantage of the fund, which has thus far raised half a million dollars.

Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation CEO Butch Spyridon said the coronavirus emergency will hit the city’s hospitality industry the hardest.

As reported Tuesday, Nashville business owners who have either had to temporarily close their businesses or limit Capacity because of the coronavirus emergency, per city orders, might have another way to help their employees.

But it’s just a proposal at this point.

Nashville Metro At-Large Council member Steve Glover told The Tennessee Star Tuesday that he would file a late resolution to use liquor tax funds to help struggling businesses.

Glover said his proposal would ask the state to forego collecting the liquor tax in these restaurants and let restaurant and bar owners utilize that money to help their employees.

Glover said Wednesday that he could not do anything with the proposal at Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]






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One Thought to “Unemployment Claims Skyrocket in Tennessee”

  1. LB

    My question is, how many of these folks standing in line are illegally in our country? What is the criteria to get financial assistance? Do you have to be a citizen to receive unemployment which we pay taxes into. We have a small business in the hospitality business, do we have to get a loan? Or are we going to be given funds to keep our business going, as these folks get funds for not working?