A worker at work on a downtown project to build a hotel near Day Air Field.

Fewer new jobless claims filed, but still tops 1M in U.S.

While new weekly unemployment insurance claims continued their steady downward trajectory, they will remain lodged well above 1 million, demonstrating continued weakness in hiring and the economy -- with no end in sight. 

 

It was the 14th week that new claims for jobless benefits have remained stubbornly stuck above 1 million nationally, a discouraging trend.

“May’s positive momentum in the labor market seems to have waned,” said Scott Murray, an economist with Nationwide. “Numerous individuals looking to go back to work face the continued downward drafts caused by more layoffs, limiting the recovery from the unprecedented shock caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

In Ohio, the state’s Department of Job and Family Services said that for the eighth straight week, continued applications for unemployment benefits declined. Those who remain jobless filed 314,744 fewer continued claims last week compared to the peak in April, the state said.

For the week ending June 20, the state reported 34,553 initial or new jobless claims.

In Montgomery County, 22,259 claims for benefits continued from previous weeks while 1,862 new claims were filed for the week ending June 20.

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In Butler County, there were 1,007 new claims during the week ending June 20, while 13,619 claims continued from previous weeks.

In Warren County, those numbers respectively were 459 and 7,032.

Clark County saw 359 new claims for the same week while 4,825 claims were continuing.

The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 14 weeks has reached more than 1.39 million — more than the combined total of those who filed during the last three years.

In the past 14 weeks, the state has paid more than $4.4 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 716,000 claimants, Ohio government said.

Nationally, the four-week moving average for claims was 1.62 million, a decrease of 160,750 from the previous week’s revised average, the Labor Department said.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 13.4 percent for the week ending June 13, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.

PNC Financial Chief Economist Gus Faucher said falling initial claims for benefits signal that the pace of layoffs is slowing, but he noted that overall those numbers are still quite high.

“The gradual decline in continuing claims over the past month points to net job growth as more people are apparently leaving unemployment than entering it as states gradually allow more economic activity,” Faucher said in a note. “But even with job gains of 2.5 million in May, given massive job losses of a combined 22 million in March and April, and an unemployment rate of 13.3 percent in May, it will take years for the job market to fully recover from the viral recession.”

Economists surveyed nationally by Dow Jones had expected 1.35 million new benefits claims.

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