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Jobs continue to be lost as a result of pandemic

Initial unemployment claims in Prince Edward County for the week ending May 9 fell by 24% from the previous week but still remain much higher than the pre-pandemic levels.

A total of 97 people filed for unemployment last week in Prince Edward County compared to 128 who filed the week before. The number of initial claims has dropped for three consecutive weeks after 193 people filed initial claims the week ending April 18.

By comparison, before the pandemic shutdowns began, only seven people filed initial employment claims in Prince Edward County the week ending March 14. Virginia closed schools March 13 and shuttered non-essential businesses March 24.

Chanda Giles, the office manager for AtWork Personnel Services in Farmville, said the firm has some road construction, factory work and positions with the Department of Corrections. Giles said the business has gotten much busier in the past month, especially on the medical side.

“We are staffing like crazy on the medical side,” Giles said.

The continued claims for unemployment in Prince Edward continue to rise and are now up to 938. That’s up from a total of 881 continued claims the week before. Continued claims have risen for at least the past nine weeks.

Initial claims for the state of Virginia fell by 12.6% week over week but continued claims rose 4%. The shocking number is the week over week comparison to 2019. Virginia had 17,804 continued unemployment claims in 2019 compared to the 392,673 who are unemployed in 2020.

The state will have one more week of unemployment numbers to report before the effects of the Phase 1 reopening may begin to be seen in the job market.

Buckingham County saw initial claims for the week of May 7 fall from 71 to 58. Continued claims rose from 387 to 411.

Initial claims in Cumberland County fell from 30 to 26 with continuing claims up from 196 to 207.