October 20, 2020

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New Ohio Unemployment Claims Dip, but Continued Claims Rocket Up – Business Journal Daily

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The number of new unemployment claims in Ohio dipped slightly to 18,719 for the week ended Aug. 29, down about 200 from the week before.

Continued claims totaled 339,957, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the second-highest weekly total since the department started reporting continued claims in mid-June. The highest total was 347,587 for the week of July 4.

Over the past 24 weeks, Job and Family Services has disbursed more than $6.2 billion in unemployment benefits to 795,000 Ohioans. In addition, it has issued $5.4 billion in pandemic unemployment assistance to 550,000 claimants.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor reports 27,510 unemployment claims were filed the week ended Aug. 22, the most recent week available. 

Since the pandemic began, the state has received 2,053,230 claims and disbursed $4.7 billion in unemployment compensation, as well as $4.5 billion in pandemic unemployment assistance.

Nationwide, 880,000 Americans applied for unemployment compensation. In total some 13.3 million people are receiving benefits. Of the jobs lost in March and April, only 9.3 million – 42% – have returned.

Data source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

On Friday, when the government issues the jobs report for August, it’s expected to report that employers added roughly 1.4 million jobs last month. That would still leave the economy about 13 million jobs short of the number it’s lost to the pandemic.

Still, the auto and housing industries have made solid gains, bolstered by rock-bottom loan rates. American factories, too, have been on the upswing for three straight months. Yet many companies across the spectrum — from small businesses to hotels, restaurants, airlines and entertainment venues — remain deeply hurt by a loss of customers. 

A wave of layoff announcements by major companies has heightened concerns that many job losses will end up being permanent. Ford is offering buyouts to try to shrink its U.S. white-collar workforce by 1,400. MGM Resorts is laying off 18,000, about a fourth of its U.S. staff. Coca-Cola, heavily reliant on entertainment venues, is offering buyouts to 4,000. 

United and American airlines, hurt by diminished air travel, said they will cut thousands of jobs unless the government provides additional aid to help cover payroll costs. Salesforce is cutting 1,000 jobs, Bed Bath & Beyond 2,800.

Many economists warn that mass layoffs will continue and that any recovery will likely falter as long as the virus rages and Congress doesn’t extend another round of rescue aid for the unemployed and for state and local governments.

The recovery remains fragile because of a still-elevated level of confirmed COVID-19 cases and the government’s failure to enact another emergency rescue package. The recent expiration of a $600-a-week federal jobless benefit has deepened the difficulties for America’s unemployed. The Trump administration is now providing a stripped-down version of that benefit — $300 a week — though not all the unemployed will qualify for it.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.