PHOENIX -- Another 31,901 Arizonans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week.

That actually is a slight increase over figures for the prior week.

The new figure brings to nearly 577,000 the number of people who have sought unemployment compensation since the COVID-19 outbreak and both the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Doug Ducey and his directive that only essential businesses can remain open. That translates out to about 16 percent of the total workforce of nearly 3.6 million people.

That stay-at-home order expired this past Saturday morning. And Ducey has relaxed his rules about what businesses can operate, though they have to live within restraints on the number of patrons.

It remains to be seen how those changes will affect the number of people working.

Aside from many businesses being limited to the number of customers, there is some question about how many Arizonans now feel safe to go out and mingle where others are located and the risk of contracting the virus is higher than staying home.

Week ending / Initial claims / continued claims

Jan. 4 / 3,132 / 17,991

Jan. 11 / 4,654 / 18,259

Jan. 18 / 4,152 / 18,421

Jan. 25 / 3,475 / 18,401

Feb. 1 / 3,087 / 18,854

Feb. 8 / 3,636 / 18,461

Feb. 15 / 3,538 / 18,516

Feb. 22 / 3,151 / 18,217

Feb. 29 / 3,086 / 18,137

Mar. 7 / 3,357 / 17,593

Mar. 14 / 3,844 / 17,595

Mar. 21 / 29,348 / 18,108

Mar. 28 / 88,688 / 26,381

Apr. 4 / 132,382 / 62,566

Apr. 11 / 95,495 / 120,452

Apr. 18 / 72,433 / 170,200

Apr. 25 / 52,529 / 196,272

May 2 / 42,955 / 218,541

May 9 / 31,032 / 228,581

May 16 / 31,901 / 303,012

-- Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security

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