Guam unemployment claims hit 80,436

WAITING FOR ASSISTANCE: People form a long line to enter the Guam Department of Labor Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Center at Guam Community College in Mangilao on July 29. Post file photo

For the second time, Saipan and Palau unemployment claims data were accidentally merged with Guam's previous tally, the Guam Department of Labor acknowledged on Tuesday.

The error was corrected and the numbers have been separated.

Guam's corrected number of pandemic-displaced workers based on the reporting of employers is 30,184 as of Sept. 22, according to Hannah Cho, a special projects coordinator for GDOL.

This is down from the 36,503 employment separation notices reported as of at least Aug. 26, based on GDOL's data.

"Saipan and Palau were accidentally included in our numbers but they were removed," Cho said.

There's no impact on unemployment benefit amounts, she said.

Guam, Palau and Saipan share the same Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program "but sometimes reports get mixed," Cho said.

Total initial unemployment claims filed with GDOL have so far reached 72,974, inclusive of those filed by self-employed individuals.

More than 20,000 of those claims were potential fraudulent claims, GDOL stated.

The COVID-19 pandemic laid off, furloughed and reduced the work hours of 30,184 private-sector employees on Guam, and this is based on the reporting of 1,657 employers via GDOL's portal hireguam.com.

Most of these displaced workers have received their initial and weekly PUA and FPUC benefits totaling some $362 million including this week's payouts.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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