Unemployment and SNAP benefit statistics during state shutdown

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Man fills in Unemployment benefits application form

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Record-breaking numbers of Americans found themselves jobless throughout the spring and summer because of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown of states. In New York, unemployment hit its peak in July with initial unemployment rates from March through August much higher than in 2019.

As the unemployment rate soared, those who applied for SNAP benefits also increased in six out of 11 Capital Region counties based on the average number of recipients from March-July in 2019, according to Open Data New York.

While the unemployment rate grew from 4.2% to 15.1% from March to April, it reached its peak in July at 16%. It was still at 12.5% in August, nearly three times higher than in August 2019. Initial unemployment rates in the state reached its peak in April with 45,759 claims.

After almost 34,000 initial unemployment claims at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March and the greatest number of initial claims during April, the numbers begin to steadily decline. From June to August the number of claims decreased by approximately 50% from 14,048 to 7,292.

Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Schoharie all saw the average number of SNAP recipients rise with the greatest average increase in Albany County, where the average grew from 31,881 to 34,013 total recipients.

Saratoga and Schenectady counties saw the second and third largest average increase but it was far below that of Albany county. Schenectady County saw the average of their SNAP recipients increase, 20,399 to 21,902. Saratoga County saw its average grow from 12,813 to 13,225.

New York State Department of Labor

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