Pandemic continues taking economic toll in Malheur County as jobless claims pile up

The Denny's at 76 East Goodfellow St. in Ontario is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

Malheur County residents continued to line up for unemployment benefits last week, with the state Employment Department reporting 120 new claims filed.

The travel industry continues to be the hardest hit, with 38 employees in the lodging or restaurant business seeking benefits last week. In the past month, 132 people in the industry sought help as restaurants closed or reduced operations.

The health care industry also continued to shed jobs, with 25 people in the care profession seeking unemployment benefits. In the past month, the total who have lost jobs and filed for help was 99.

Overall, 384 Malheur County residents have submitted claims for unemployment. Across Oregon, new claims last week totaled 53 . . .