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CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR FRIDAY: Svalbard tops unemployment claims, trade ministry opening first non-Oslo office in Svalbard, Skinnboden at mall closing and more


This story will be updated throughout the day. Photo of at least some construction going on normally by Mark Sabbatini.

“This is the highest unemployment rate in Norway since World War II” at 10.4 percent and Svalbard has the highest unemployment rate of any region in Norway at more than 14 percent, according to figures released Tuesday by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. But while the report showing a 95 percent nationwide jump in claims since March 17 emphasizes the obvious – the sharp increase is due to the coronavirus crisis – the numbers don’t yet appear to reflect the reported 90 percent layoffs of Longyearbyen’s tourism workers (and possibly other sectors) or the high percentage of foreign residents ineligible to claim benefits.