Weekly jobless claims surge in Nebraska, Iowa as virus takes toll

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(AP) -- Nebraska's initial claims for unemployment skyrocketed with the rest of the nation's last week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The filings rose to nearly 16,000 from a little less than 800 the week before. State Labor Commissioner John Albin says Nebraska's number shattered the previous state record of 4,003 in a single week.

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In Iowa, residents there filed more than 40,000 claims for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus outbreak forced many workers to lose jobs and stay home.

Nationally, the Department of Labor reported Thursday that nationwide, claims for jobless benefits surged to a record 3.3 million in the week that ended March 21.

That was up from 2,229 reported in the state the week before. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said earlier this week that the state was receiving a staggering number of claims.