5.2M file jobless claims as economic shock rages on

With retail stores closing due to the coronavirus, the number of people filing for unemployment has increased in Clark County and across the Dayton area. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
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With retail stores closing due to the coronavirus, the number of people filing for unemployment has increased in Clark County and across the Dayton area. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Ohio has seen more claims in past month than previous two years

The latest national unemployment claims numbers show continued economic pain, with 5.2 million more people filing for benefits.

After about a month of dealing with a global pandemic, there are about 22 million unemployed people nationally.

In the week ending April 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 5,245,000, a decrease of 1,370,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the Department of Labor said.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 158,678 initial jobless claims for the same week. The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last four weeks stands at 855,197.

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“To put that in perspective, the total for the last four weeks of claims is 139,685 more than the combined total of 715,512 for the last two years,” the department said.

In Montgomery County, 7,602 people filed for claims in the week ending April 11, down from 11,178 the week before.

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In Warren County, 2,469 people filed, down from 4,085 the week before. In Butler County, the corresponding numbers are 4,465, down from 6,768 in the previous week.

Over these last four weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $227 million in unemployment compensation payments to more than 271,000 claimants.

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The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 8.2 percent for the week ending April 4, according to federal data.

“This marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series,” the federal government said. “The previous high was 7.0 percent in May of 1975.”

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Ohioans are being asked file their claims online at unemployment.ohio.gov.

But as claims skyrocket, many Ohioans say they are unable to navigate the overwhelmed system. Yesterday, the ODJFS web site was down temporarily.

Several million more people were expected to have filed for unemployment benefits last week, after nearly 17 million applied for aid in the previous three weeks, the Associated Press reported, calling the period “the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record.”

All businesses deemed “nonessential” have been closed in 48 states as the economy has essentially shut down. Some economists say the unemployment rate could reach as high as 20 percent in April, which would be the highest rate since the Great Depression, the AP noted.

Up to 50 million jobs are vulnerable to coronavirus-related layoffs, economists say — about one-third of all positions in the United States, the AP said.