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JUST IN: 1.3 million Americans filed for jobless claims last week

Lowe’s in Springfield had a ‘now hiring’ sign along Bechtle Avenue. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Lowe’s in Springfield had a ‘now hiring’ sign along Bechtle Avenue. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The number is falling, but remains above 1 million

The ongoing trend of elevated-but-falling first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits continued Thursday, with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting 1.3 million claims for benefits nationwide in the week ending July 11.

That is a decrease of just 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 4,000 from 1,314,000 to 1,310,000, the federal government said.

It was the 17th consecutive week with new or initial benefits claims numbering above one million — a milestone that looks increasingly difficult to shake as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, even as states struggle to reopen businesses.

In Ohio, residents filed 35,422 initial jobless claims last week. That’s 238,793 fewer than the peak earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said.

Ohioans filed 429,638 continuing jobless claims last week, which were 346,664 fewer than the peak earlier this year.

The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 17 weeks (1,499,712) is more than the combined total of those filed during the last three years.

The national weekly claims numbers, announced every Thursday, have fallen dramatically from March and April. They numbered above 6 million for two weeks at that time.

But since then, applications for the benefits have remained frozen between 1 million and 2 million since May, indicating a painfully slow recovery.

This story will be updated.