Governing - When the U.S. economy ground to a halt in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in March, states experienced a dramatic surge in unemployment claims. Rhode Island was no exception. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), which manages unemployment insurance (UI) claims for state residents, received more than 140,000 initial claims for the UI program alone in the first 45 days after the governor declared a state of emergency. By comparison, the state — with a population of slightly over one million people — received 107,000 initial UI claims during the peak of the Great Recession.
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