FILE

Almost 3 million sought jobless benefits last week

Historically high number, but the 6th straight week of declines

In the week ending May 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial (or new) claims for unemployment benefits was 2,981,000, a decrease of 195,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

There have been more than 36 million unemployment claims in 8 weeks across the nation

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 14.5 percent during the week ending May 2, a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from the prior week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

While the number of people seeking benefits remains historically high, it also represents the sixth straight weekly decline in the number of people filing new claims.

Ohio reported 51,125 new jobless claims, with the number of new jobless claims filed in the state over the last eight weeks (1,169,694) higher than the combined total of those filed in the last three years.

Over these last eight weeks, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has distributed more than $2.4 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 587,000 claimants.

Of the more than 1 million applications the state has received, 90% have been processed, with 10% pending, the state said.

ODJFS urges individuals to file their claims, if possible, at unemployment.ohio.gov.

"Millions of workers continue to apply for unemployment insurance, highlighting the tremendous impact of the COVID-19 recession on the job market," Nationwide Senior Economist Ben Ayers said in a note. "There are signs, however, that the worst is over with claims levels falling and perhaps some signals of rehiring by newly opened businesses."

While the volume of claims continues to slide somewhat, they remain "extraordinarily high" compared to pre-COVID levels, Ayers said.

"This brings the total since the middle of March to more than 36 million workers – only about 3 million lower than the cumulative claims from the 18-month great recession" from 12 years ago, he said.

There are some signs that rehiring is happening, he noted, pointing to continued claims — still at a record high of 22.8 million for the week ending May 2 — only adding about 450,000 from the previous week.

"While it’s too early to confirm this, the change in continued claims over the next month will be an important reading to watch for renewed hiring by companies," Ayers said.

RELATED: If you have been denied Ohio unemployment benefits, check out this new federal program

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