The number of unemployment claims in North Dakota has dropped dramatically since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Job Service North Dakota Deputy Director Darren Brostrom said at one point, around 100,000 individual claims were filed for state unemployment support. And Brostrom said the two federal programs created because of the pandemic – the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance Program – had another 80,000 claims.
"Of those, there are quit a few repeats," Brostrom said. "As far as individuals, the 110,000 mark is probably appropriate."
Brostrom said after that peak, Job Service has seen quite a reduction in filed claims.
"We peaked in early May," Brostrom said. "We took around 13,000 claims in a week."
Now, he said jobless claims are down to around 656, in the last week.
"They have been steadily declining," Brostrom said. And he said some of the 656 claims are normal, seasonal claims."
The state's unemployment trust fund remains healthy, even though the demand for benefits soared.
"Since March, our low point (in the trust fund) was $115 million," Brostrom said.
At that time, the state Emergency Commission and the Legislature's Budget Section gave the fund an infusion of cash from the CARES Act. That amound was $360 million.
"If they hadn't injected the cash into the trust fund, we would have been in a borrowing situation," Brostrom said. "We would have gone broke."
Brostrom saids the trust fund is now in good shape. He said it now has about $246 million.