The Montgomery County Job Center in Dayton. FILE

30 million Americans have lost jobs since March

More than 30 million Americans have lost jobs in the past six weeks.

And the number of unemployed is probably higher because so many people have had difficulty trying to apply for jobless benefits.

In the week ending April 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment benefits claims nationally was 3,839,000, a decrease of 603,000 from the previous week’s level, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

In Ohio, the situation continues to be dire.

For the same week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service reported 92,920 new jobless claims to the federal government.

That means the number of new or “initial” jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last six weeks tops 1 million (1,057,486), the state said.

“To put that in perspective, the total for the last six weeks of claims is 341,974 more than the combined total of 715,512 for the last two years,” the state said.

In Montgomery County, 4,344 people filed new claims in the week ending April 25. Continuing jobless claims for the county have reached 36,000.

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“Claims have since fallen by about 45 percent from their peak in the week ending March 28, but are still astronomical,” PNC Bank Chief Economist Gus Faucher said. “Over the past six weeks claims have totaled more than 30 million, or about 18 percent of the pre-coronavirus labor force.

“The April jobs report, to be released on Friday, May 8, will be the worst in history,” he added.

In the last six weeks, Ohio has distributed more than $1.45 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 481,000 claimants.

The state urges residents to file their claims online, if possible, at unemployment.ohio.gov.

“Each claim is important to us, and we recognize the hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many Ohio families,” the department said Thursday. “We are expanding staff support, working longer hours, and adding more technological capacity so that we can serve Ohioans as quickly as possible.”

The department said it has extended its call center to a seven-day-a-week operation and has more than 1,600 staff taking calls. It says it has also launched “a virtual call center to allow us to serve more Ohioans.”

Any delays in processing claims for benefits will not reduce the amount received, the state has said.

A study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute has found that for every 10 people who said they successfully filed for unemployment benefits during the previous month, “Three to four additional people tried to apply but could not get through the system to make a claim. Two additional people did not try to apply because it was too difficult to do so.”

Nationally, the advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 12.4 percent for the week ending April 18, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the previous week’s revised rate.

 

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