Newly released numbers show Connecticut lost a historic 266,300 net jobs in April, due mostly to the coronavirus pandemic. While all industries experienced signifcant declines, the leisure and hospitality, retail trade and education and health services sectors were hit the hardest, according to the Department of Labor.

Andy Condon, the agency’s director of the Office of Research, said Thursday it’s too soon to tell how many of the jobs were suspended and will return as more of the state’s economy is allowed to reopen, and how many were permanently lost.

“If you talk about on a percentage basis, the Stamford area was hit very hard. The pandemic issue there was very difficult,” Condon said. “The southeast part of the state on percentage basis was hit very hard, perhaps a little worse on a percentage basis that other parts of the state. But everyone was significantly damaged.”

While the federal government’s statistics indicate Connecticut now has a 7.9% unemployment rate, state Labor Comissioner Kurt Westby said that’s inaccurate and the figure is more likely 17.5%.

Leadership at the Connecticut Department of Labor today announced that the agency is planning to mail instruction letters this Friday to approximately 77,000 individuals in the state who have been identified as potentially eligible to apply for 13 weeks of emergency extended unemployment benefits.

Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said that the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act included an extension of the 26 weeks of regular state unemployment insurance to 39 weeks through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. This could be retroactive to March 29, 2020 and will be in effect through December 26, 2020. Weekly PEUC benefits are based on wage history using the same formula for determining state unemployment insurance benefit amounts. It also includes the additional $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit.

The notifications will include instructions on steps that potentially eligible claimants will need to follow to receive the emergency extended benefits.

The 12,000 individuals who recently exhausted their 26 weeks of state benefits will receive letters instructing them to file for PEUC benefits. This can be done by using the green button on and accessing the PEUC application site. If eligibility criteria are met, claimants will be entitled to collect up to 13 weeks of extended benefits. This same letter will be provided to an estimated 500 individuals each week as they exhaust their 26 weeks of state benefits.

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