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COVID-19: NH unemployment paid since March 24 is more than sum of last 8 years

Published: 6/8/2020 8:37:59 PM
Modified: 6/8/2020 8:38:20 PM

CONCORD — Members of the state’s economic reopening task force got an unemployment update, and Democratic lawmakers want to direct federal aid to vulnerable populations.

More money has been paid in unemployment benefits in New Hampshire in the last 11 weeks than in the last eight years combined, the state’s deputy commissioner for employment security said Monday.

Just under $649 million has been paid since March 24, Richard Lavers told the governor’s economic reopening task force.

The federal government has paid 84% of that total.

While the number of new claims per week has been dropping, it’s still about 10 times the number of weekly claims filed before the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

Some hard-hit sectors are regaining their workers as restrictions have eased and businesses have reopened, he said. Restaurants, which lost nearly half their workers, are now at about 73% of their pre-pandemic employment levels. The lodging sector, which was down below 50% employment, is up to 62%.

NH legislators craft plans

Senate Democrats are responding to the coronavirus with a package of bills that would boost funding for vulnerable populations while increasing transparency around how all federal aid is being spent.

Among the measures being added to existing bills are provisions that would direct federal coronavirus relief aid to long-term care facilities, child care scholarships, homelessness programs and programs that help homeowners avoid foreclosure. The bills also would require the governor’s office for economic relief and recovery to file detailed reports on each payment it makes, including who is getting the money and the amount paid out.

Public hearings on the bills are set for Wednesday and Thursday.

Happy campers?

The University of New Hampshire is offering advice to parents struggling with whether to send their children to summer camps during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials with the university’s recreation management, health management and other programs have compiled a tip sheet to help parents make informed decisions about overnight camps. It includes information from the American Camping Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with suggested questions parents can ask about social distancing and other issues.

“A good camp will welcome these questions,” said Jayson Seaman, associate professor of recreation management and policy.

Case numbers

As of Monday, 5,079 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 37 from the previous day. The number of deaths stood at 286.




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