Alabama unemployment claims skyrocket amid pandemic

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A staff member collects a sample from a patient at Waddell Family Medicine as Athens-Limestone Hospital opens a flu and fever clinic on Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Athens, Ala. Patients will only be tested for COVID-19 if indicated by their exam or ordered by the physician or provider. . (Dan Busey/The Decatur Daily via AP)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Thousands of Alabamians are filing for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus pandemic causes workplaces to temporarily close or reduce operations.

The Alabama Department of Labor said nearly 17,000 people filed unemployment claims over two days. Most of the claims were listed as related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Most were from the hospitality industry.

Alabama and other states have mandated closures to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid overwhelming hospitals.

More than 440 cases of the illness have have confirmed in the state, with the greatest number around Birmingham.


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