More than 1.2 million Ohioans have filed unemployment claims in last 9 weeks

A woman walks her dog past a closed business, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — ​The state reported Thursday that more than 1.2 million people filed unemployment claims in the past nine weeks as Ohio’s stay-at-home order depressed the economy and led to widespread layoffs.

For the week ending May 16, just over 46,000 people filed jobless claims, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That’s down from the approximately 51,000 claims filed the previous week.

The numbers announced Thursday pushed total unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic to 1,215,756, above the total number of claims over the past three years. The state says it has now distributed more than $2.8 billion in unemployment checks to more than 619,000 claimants.

Nationally, more than 2.4 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week.

The unemployment numbers were released as Ohio restaurants were set to offer indoor dining again Thursday after a two-month shutdown. Campgrounds are also reopening.

Horse racing begins again Friday, but without spectators.

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For helpful websites, tips and more on filing for unemployment, click here.

ODJFS released the following statement, information, and resources:

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services urges individuals 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. We have been working around the clock to streamline performance and boost capacity by adding servers so the online claims system can handle the unprecedented influx of claims, which has affected processing times.

It's important to keep in mind that during previous downturns in the economy, claims came in waves as the recession worsened and industries began to shut down whereas these claims came in all at once and created a tsunami. This amount of claims in this short expanse of time would tax any online system, especially one that is 16 years old. It’s also important to note that unemployment insurance automated systems around the country are also struggling with the increased claims load.

Helpful FAQ Sheets
General Information: jfs.ohio.gov/unemp_comp_faq/index.stm
Coronavirus-Specific Information: jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Call Center Hours
Those without internet access or who have case-specific questions can call 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.

Coronavirus-Related Claims
Workers who lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus can enter the mass-layoff number 2000180 on their applications. However, if affected individuals have already submitted claims without this number, they do not need to add it.

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