The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Jobless claims jump with virus closures


March 25, 2020

About 11,000 people filed for new unemployment claims in New Mexico last week. For perspective, officials said the state’s average number of new claims in a week is about 800.

With COVID-19 shutdowns in full swing, many workers have found their hours cut drastically or have been sent home altogether.

The New Mexico Department of Workplace Services has been working to educate the public on the best ways to file for unemployment given the scope of the situation.

“We’re hearing the same story from all around the state,” said Bill McCamley, the NMDWS secretary. “A lot of service-sector folks have lost hours, but the reason is real. The governor is doing what she can to keep people safe and keep people from dying.”

McCamley said that while the majority of those applying for aid have been from the service sector, the number of oil and gas workers who are filing is also increasing.

The NMDWS is urging anyone who needs to file to go online first and foremost and added that around 93 percent of filers have done so. To assist with filing online, the NMDWS has released a video for New Mexicans applying for Unemployment Insurance, which explains the process step-by-step.

McCamley added that the filing website has been holding up well despite the massive increase in traffic and has not shown any signs of crashing like several other states have experienced.

“We understand this is a tough situation and we’re asking people to do three things: stay patient, we’re all doing this for the first time; stay kind, we believe we’re all one big family here in New Mexico; and understand we all want to play team ball. If we all work together we’ll be able to get through this in the best possible way.”

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