The number of new jobless claims in Oregon climbed last week for the first time since March as more people filed for benefits during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the state received nearly 16,000 new jobless claims. That brings the total number of benefits applications during the coronavirus outbreak to nearly 412,000 – more than 20% of Oregon workers.

Additionally, the Oregon Employment Department said Thursday it is now ready to begin processing extended benefits authorized by Congress in March. Workers who had exhausted the standard 26 weeks of benefits can now apply for a 13-week extension – retroactive to March 29.

Oregon’s unemployment rate rose to 14.2% in April, the highest point on record. It had been at a historic low of just 3.5% in March, before the coronavirus outbreak hit Oregon. Forecasters expect the unemployment rate will top 20% within the next few months and then rebound.

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