More than 84,000 Virginians filed unemployment claims last week week, according to new data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The number of new claims filed in Virginia was released Thursday. Claims had dropped by nearly 20% from the previous week, when nearly 105,000 Virginians filed unemployment claims.
But the number is still a huge increase compared to filings before the coronavirus outbreak began pummeling the state last month, forcing non-essential businesses to shut down. Since March 15, nearly 500,000 people have filed for jobless benefits in Virginia.
Nationally, 4.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. Over the last five weeks, approximately 26 million people have filed for jobless aid, or about one in six U.S. workers.
In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has come under growing pressure from Republican leaders and business owners to begin the process of re-opening Virginia, a month after he ordered non-essential businesses to close and residents to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.
Last week, Northam extended his order to keep nonessential businesses closed through May 8. The order covers restaurant dining areas, fitness centers, hair salons, museums and a host of other recreational and entertainment businesses.