VIRUS - CLOSED BUSINESSES - AP FILE 2.jpeg

FILE - This March 16, 2020, file photo shows chairs placed on top of tables at a restaurant in New York, as the state joined with Connecticut and New Jersey to close bars, restaurants and movie theaters. Small business owners hoping for quick loans from the government were in a holding pattern Monday, April 6, 2020, waiting on their bank to either take their application or, if it did, send them the money. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Indiana saw a big drop in first-time unemployment claims in the week ended April 18, while Kentucky's new claims were down only slightly the week before.

Both states and the nation as a whole continue to log eye-popping jobless claims as many businesses are shuttered during the pandemic.

But the Indiana first-time claims dropped to 75,483, from 113,755 the week prior, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Kentucky's first-time claims also dropped, though not nearly as steeply as in the Hoosier state. Kentucky recorded 103,548 new claims last week, down from  116,277 the week prior.
 

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear last month made state unemployment benefits available to people such as independent contractors and the self-employed, whose jobs don't pay into the tax system that maintains the benefit fund.
 
While Indiana has not expanded unemployment benefits to people who aren't traditionally eligible, those people still would file a claim with the state to access the virus-relief federal unemployment aid of $600 per week.
 

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.