New unemployment claims in Ohio rise for third straight week, though renewed claims again fall

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Ohio rose last week for the third week in a row, even as the number of continued claims fell for a second straight week.

For the week of Sept. 20-26, 18,592 initial jobless claims were submitted — an increase of 648 claims, or about 3.6%, compared to the previous week, according to an Ohio Department of Job and Family Services release.

Ohioans filed 299,030 continued unemployment claims last week, down 2,244 claims, or about 0.7%, from the week before. The week before, the number of continued claims fell about 6%.

ODJFS has cited continued jobless claims as a sign of whether people are returning to work after coronavirus shutdowns earlier this year. Since the height of the coronavirus crisis last spring, when state “stay-at-home” and business closure orders resulted in record unemployment filings, the number of new and continued claims has generally fallen each week.

Both seven-day and 21-day averages for newly discovered coronavirus cases in Ohio have been trending up during the past two weeks. As of Wednesday, the state’s seven-day average of new cases reached its highest point since Sept. 5, while the 21-day average hasn’t been this high since Sept. 21.

Since mid-March, a total of 1,752,326 unemployment claims were filed in Ohio – more than the number of claims filed during the previous four years combined, according to ODJFS. About 5% of those claims have not yet been processed, according to the department.

In the last 29 weeks, ODJFS says it has distributed more than $6.9 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 817,000 Ohioans.

Nationally, 840,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week, down 9,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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