With establishments making workforce cuts across the nation, national unemployment has jumped to 4.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 This is a rise from 1.4 million to 7.1 million unemployed persons, which is the largest increase since 1975. West Virginia was not excluded.

“We had 90,000 claims in the month of March,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a press briefing Tuesday. “I very proudly can tell you that in one day, yesterday, we processed 28,500 of those claims. We’re catching up and we’re catching up really fast.”

Justice also reported that additional aid would be issued to unemployed persons.

“Today, WorkForce West Virginia will begin distributing the additional $600 in federal pandemic unemployment compensation provided by the CARES act for eligible unemployment claimants,” Justice said.

According to the CARES act (https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act) an eligible claimant is someone who has a valid social security number, is not considered a dependent of someone else, and whose adjusted gross income does not exceed certain thresholds. 

“We have a total now in the state of West Virginia of 412 positive cases,” Justice said. “For the state of West Virginia, we are testing per percentage of population 0.559% of the population, and the entire nation is testing at 0.592%.” 

Justice said West Virginia is up to par with its neighbors in terms of testing. 

In addition, the ratio of positive to total tests is going down. “From the standpoint of [our] neighboring states, we were at 3.47, we’re at 3.42 today [in percentage of positive tests out of total], and that is the lowest out of the surrounding states,” Justice said. “We are the highest risk state in the nation. We could be contaminated so easily, so please, stay the course.” 

News Editor

Gabriella is from Ashtabula, Ohio, and has written for the DA since 2018. She is a journalism student with a minor in Japanese studies and German, and plans to attend WVU College of Law following graduation.