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Ohio jobless claims fell below 19,000 last week

The number of Ohioans who sought jobless benefits slipped below 19,000 last week — the fifth week in the last six the number has fallen.

Across the nation Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department reported just over 1 million Americans applied for unemployment assistance, a drop of 98,000 from 1.1 million the prior week, yet still evidence the viral outbreak continues to threaten jobs.

“The improvement in the labor market has been more uneven in recent weeks,” Gus Faucher, chief economist with PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, said. “In the past six weeks, initial claims for unemployment insurance, after seasonal adjustment, have risen in three of those weeks and fallen in three of them, although they are lower than they were in early July.”

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services also reported claim numbers Thursday, showing 18,988 initial claims were filed last week.

Since claims in Ohio hit an astronomical 274,215 for the week of March 28, numbers have mostly fallen week to week. There were three weeks in June that posted increases, another in mid July and a fifth earlier this month.

Still, the 1.6 million claims filed in the last 23 weeks is more than the last four years combined.

For the U.S., the number of initial claims has exceeded 1 million every week but one since late March, an unprecedented streak. Before the coronavirus pandemic, they had never topped 700,000 in a week.

“Layoffs are ongoing reflecting interruptions to activity from virus containment that are likely resulting in permanent closures and job losses,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research report.

Farooqi added that “the risk of permanent damage to the labor market remains high which will slow the pace of recovery. The return to pre-pandemic levels of prosperity is set to be an uncertain and prolonged process.”

In Trumbull County, there were 315 new claims, pushing the 23-week total 29,626. There were 326 new claims in Mahoning County for 34,583 new claims over the same period.

Initial unemployment claims by county

Trumbull County

March 15 to April 4 12,961

April 5 to May 2 7,120

May 3 to 30 2,988

May 31 to June 27 2,653

June 28 to July 25 2,128

July 26 to Aug. 1 643

Aug. 2 to 8 424

Aug. 9 to 15 394

Aug. 16 to 22 315

Total: 29,626

Mahoning County

March 15 to April 4 15,599

April 5 to May 2 8,404

May 3 to 30 3,449

May 31 to June 27 3,102

June 28 to July 25 2,331

July 26 to Aug. 1 525

Aug. 2 to 8 429

Aug. 9 to 15 418

Aug. 16 to 22 326

Total: 34,583

Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

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