More than 17,000 new claims for unemployment benefits have been filed in Montana since new regulations took effect last week that expand eligibility to workers impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
An average of 2,100 people a day in the state filed for unemployment from March 17 through March 24.
Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration announced last Tuesday that workers sent home due to pandemic concerns, and workers caring for a family member impacted by COVID-19 are now eligible for the benefits.
The benefit expansion does not cover workers afraid of gathering in a group or refusing to go to work.
The Montana Department of Labor & Industry reports its unemployment registration system is seeing a high load of users and may be slow, unresponsive, or down.