The Oregon Employment Department released its weekly snapshot of the damage to the state's economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

New unemployment filings for the week of April 5 totaled 53,800. That's a huge number but marks an improvement from the prior three weeks, in which 243,000 Oregonians filed for unemployment benefits. (That total was adjusted downward from about 269,000.)

That means that 297,000 Oregonians—nearly 15 percent of the total who had jobs—lost those jobs in the past month.

The Oregon Employment Department, which has been overwhelmed by the flood of claims, also announced that the pace of payouts—including an extra $600 a week for recipients courtesy of the federal CARES Act—is increasing.

The agency said it paid out $97 million in benefits during the week of April 5, four times the amount it paid out the previous week.

The biggest group of those who have lost their jobs worked in leisure and hospitality (52,900). The next hardest-hit sector is  health care and social assistance (25,800) followed by retail workers (19,700).