Tennessee experienced an unprecedented spike in new initial unemployment claims according to data released Thursday morning by the Department of Labor.
For the week ending March 21, Tennesseans filed just over 39,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, over 36,000 more than the previous week.
Nationwide, Americans filed nearly 3.3 million new unemployment claims, an increase of over 3 million from the previous week’s revised national level.
Currently, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is processing these claims as quickly as possible to determine eligibility and distribute benefit payments.
Governor Bill Lee has temporarily suspended Tennessee’s one-week waiting period to receive benefits. Typically, the state pays the first week of benefits after four consecutive weekly certifications.
During this temporary suspension, the state will pay the first week of benefits as soon as an unemployment claim is approved.