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COVID-19 shutdowns are hitting hospitality industry, women hardest

A huge number of unemployment insurance applications have been submitted.

The first breakdown of unemployment applications since the COVID-19 outbreak began has shown which industries and workers are being hit the hardest.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) says that it received a whopping 149,443 applications for unemployment insurance between Mar. 16-23.

It marks a gigantic rise in applicants, given that during the same week last year only 2,100 applications were received.

It shows the severity with which the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent community mitigation orders from the governor's office has impacted businesses around the state.

Hardest hit has been the hospitality industry, with 48,540 of those applications coming from the food preparation and services industry, which follows the shutdown of dine-in services, though many restaurants have managed to keep at least some staff employed by shifting to takeout/delivery operations.

After that, those in the personal care and service industry – your salons, spas, tattoo parlors etc., have been the second hardest hit with 10,844 applicants. 

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Also hard hit has been sales and services employees (10,657 applicants), office and administrative workers (9,271 applicants) and healthcare practitioners and technicians – such as dentists and elective surgery staff – who number 8,934.

DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said on Tuesday that women – who make up the bulk of service industry workers – are being disproportionately affected by the shutdown.

Of the total claimants last week, 63 percent of them were women, Grove said.

What's more, it's also hitting younger workers the hardest, with the largest number of applicants by age demographic being the 22-29 cohort.

You can apply for unemployment payments here, with the State of Minnesota offering 50 percent of your lost salary up to $740-a-week. The state no longer requires you wait a week without employment before applying. 

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