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Arizona Unemployment Claims Soar As Businesses Close

The state Department of Economic Security reports there were more than 29,000 claims for unemployment insurance during the week of March 15.

In comparison, there were slightly more than 7,000 claims over the previous two weeks combined.

Officials expect that number to keep climbing as businesses continue to lay off workers due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the state response, lawmakers and the governor made some changes such as waiving the requirement that recipients actively look for work and expanding the definition of who is eligible to receive benefits.

However, Arizona still has a maximum weekly payout of $240 per week, which is the second lowest in the country.

The Show spoke to Dave Wells, research director for the Grand Canyon Institute, who has been studying the situation.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.