Grim virus-related employment stats as state mulls openings

Coronavirus

In this March 24, 2020, photo, David McGraw poses for a portrait as he sits on his front porch in New Orleans. Barely a week ago, McGraw was cooking daily for hundreds of fine diners at one of New Orleans’ illustrious restaurants. Today, he’s cooking for himself, at home, laid off along with hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. in a massive economic upheaval spurred by efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The latest figures from Louisiana’s labor department show that nearly 92,000 filed initial unemployment claims last week, compared to fewer than 1,600 for the comparable week in 2019.

At a Thursday morning meeting of a new recovery task force of the Legislature in Baton Rouge, economist Loren Scott said state unemployment could eventually hit 22%. Louisiana’s death toll reached 1,473 on Wednesday.

The number of known coronavirus infections, based on testing by the state health department and commercial labs, topped 25,000.

However, the number hospitalized in the state dropped to 1,747 Wednesday. It peaked at 2,134 earlier this month. 

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