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Reopenings slow layoffs

Lowest filing number since stay-at-home orders in state

More than 34,000 Ohioans filed unemployment claims during the last week of May, the state reported Thursday. That’s the lowest figure since Ohio’s stay-at-home orders depressed the economy and led to widespread layoffs.

The 34,575 claims filed for the week ending May 30 are down from about 46,000 claims filed the previous week. Weekly claims haven’t been that high since late 2008 during the Great Recession.

The numbers announced Thursday pushed total unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic to 1.29 million, above the total number of claims over the past three years. The state says it has now distributed more than $3.5 billion to more than 668,000 unemployment claimants, close to what was paid out in both 2009 and 2010 during the recession.

In addition, Ohio has paid out more than $1.1 billion in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds to more than 166,000 claimants not eligible for regular unemployment compensation, such as self-employed or gig workers.

In the Mahoning Valley, claims have fallen for the fifth consecutive week. The 557 claims in Trumbull County push the total to 23,069 and the 665 in Mahoning County bring the total there to 27,452.

Nationally, nearly 1.9 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the running total since the shutdowns took hold in mid-March to more than 42 million, the government said Thursday.

The figures come one day before the government’s jobs report for May is expected to show that employers slashed 8 million jobs last month and that the unemployment rate jumped from 14.7 percent to 19.8 percent. If those forecasts prove accurate, it would mean that nearly 30 million people have lost jobs since the viral outbreak intensified in March and that joblessness has reached its highest point since the Great Depression.

Initial unemployment claims by county

Trumbull County

March 15 to 21 3,614

March 22 to 28 4,969

March 29 to April 4 4,378

April 5 to 11 2,661

April 12 to 18 1,665

April 19 to 25 1,713

April 26 to May 2 1,081

May 2 to 9 951

May 10 to 16 814

May 17 to 23 666

May 24 to 30 557

Total — 23,069

Mahoning County

March 15 to 21 4,560

March 22 to 28 6,018

March 29 to April 4 5,021

April 5 to 11 2,964

April 12 to 18 2,003

April 19 to 25 2,075

April 26 to May 2 1,362

May 2 to 9 1,051

May 10 to 16 942

May 17 to 23 791

May 24 to 30 665

Total — 27,452

Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

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