Jobless claims fall by nearly 250K

(Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
(Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Weekly claims stuck well above 1 million, but fall to pandemic-era low

More than 1 million new jobless benefit claims every week have been the norm for a while. That continued last week.

In the week ending August 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment benefit claims nationally was 1,186,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 1,434,000 to 1,435,000, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

In Ohio, residents filed 25,952 initial or first-time jobless claims last week. That was 248,263 fewer than the peak earlier this year. Ohioans filed 404,434 continued jobless claims last week, 371,868 fewer than the earlier peak.

In Montgomery County, there 1,120 new claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending Aug. 1, with 19,570 claims ongoing.

The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 20 weeks (1,583,739) was more than the combined total of those filed during the last four years, the state said.

Over the last 20 weeks, the state has distributed more than $5.8 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 771,000 Ohioans.

While the national drop in claims from the previous week is welcome, the number is still quite high.

First-time or initial claims for jobless benefits have been lodged at around 1.3 million a week since late June, according to Labor Department data.

That’s still down dramatically from 6.9 million weekly claims in late March, when fears of the pandemic and government lock-down orders first took serious hold.

PNC Financial Senior Economist Bill Adams noted that federal extended unemployment insurance benefits expired July 31.

“More important to the near-term outlook than these jobs data is whether the increased unemployment insurance benefits are extended,” Adams said Thursday. “If not, aggregate household income will drop by about $75 billion per month beginning in August, which would cause a large net decline in household income in the third quarter and create a very large headwind to the recovery.”

The White House and Congressional Democrats continue to negotiate on a new relief package, which may include an extension of those benefits.

Butler County saw 710 new or initial benefits claims last week, on top of 12,042 continuing claims. In Warren County those numbers were 384 and 5,833, respectively.

Clark County residents filed 218 initial claims for benefits, with 3,883 claims ongoing.

Ohio ranks 30 on a WalletHub national ranking of the state’s experiencing the quickest recovery from COVID-19, WalletHub said it compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three metrics based on changes in unemployment claims.