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As Government Shutdown Continues, Some Furloughed Employees Apply For Unemployment

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

It's the fourth week of the government shutdown, and furloughed government employees did not receive their first paycheck.

Between the start of the shutdown on December 23rd until January 11th, 484 federal government employees filed for unemployment benefits in Wyoming. That's 27 percent of the total claims. The rise is likely due to anxious federal employees, not sure when the shutdown will be resolved.

Ty Stockton, a spokesman for the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, said that's an increase.

"Generally, we might have a few if there's a position eliminated or something in the federal government and an employee would file for unemployment but usually not 484 for of them," said Stockton.

He said employees can receive a maximum amount of $489/week and that these benefits only last 26 weeks or about 6 months. Stockton said it's dependent on Congress how and if unemployment benefits will be reimbursed.

"If Congress does approve back pay for federal employees that are without work right now, anybody who has taken unemployment through the state of Wyoming will have to pay that unemployment back once they get their back pay," he said.

According to the according to the Office of Personnel Management and Bureau of Labor statistics, Wyoming has the fifth highest number of federal government employees with a total of 3,700.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.

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