Jobless claims resume upward trajectory nationally

The milestone of having fewer than one million weekly national claims for unemployment benefits lasted just one brief week, as the number of claims increased slightly in the most recent week, pushing up above the one million mark once more.

The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,106,000 in the week ending Aug. 15, an increase of 135,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to new U.S. Department of Labor numbers Thursday.

The new number represents an increase in layoffs.

Nationally, the overall number of people seeking jobless benefits is more than double the peak of the Great Recession of 2007-2008, Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at Oxford Economics, said in a note quoted by the Wall Street Journal Thursday.

In Montgomery County in the week ending last Saturday, 1,083 claimants filed first-time applications for jobless benefits, while 17,577 claims were ongoing from previous weeks.

In Clark County, there were 221 new claims for benefits while 3,466 claims were ongoing.

Butler County saw 564 new claims for benefits and 10,720 ongoing claims last week, while in Warren County, those numbers were 302 and 5,228 respectively.

Scott Murray, an economist at Nationwide, sees the long-term trend as encouraging, bur the pace of hiring “will be challenged by doubts over school reopening and travel restrictions.”

“A brief stall is usual in the recovery’s early stage as both further job cuts and the new opportunities offered by economic growth renewal occur almost simultaneously,” Murray said in a note.

Gus Faucher, an economist with PNC Financial, saw a similar picture.

“The amount of unemployment in the U.S. economy is gradually falling, but is still very high, and the pace of improvement is slowing,” he said. “It could be that the increase in cases of coronavirus in many parts of the country over the summer has weighed on the recovery in the labor market.”

Ohioans filed 21,663 initial or first-time jobless claims last week, according to state numbers. That 252,552 fewer than the peak earlier this year.

Ohioans filed 359,585 continued or ongoing jobless claims last week, which was 416,717 fewer than the peak earlier this year.

The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 22 weeks (1,626,371) was more than the combined total of those filed during the last four years, the state sid.

The 4-week moving average was 1,175,750 claims nationally, a decrease of 79,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 2,000 from 1,252,750 to 1,254,750.

The labor market has experienced historically high levels of unemployment since the COVID-19 era begin in earnest in the United States in mid-March.

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