Jobless claims spike in Virginia after coronavirus outbreak

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal report shows jobless claims in Virginia spiked by nearly a factor of 20 as parts of the economy slowed or shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The report released Thursday shows nearly 47,000 Virginians filed unemployment claims for the week ending March 21. That's about 18 times higher than the previous four-week rolling average.

The increase is even sharper than the nation as a whole, where a spike of 3.28 million jobless claims jumped by a factor of 14.

The Virginia Employment Commission is urging people to file claims online as the wait to get through over the phone exceeds two hours.