Weekly unemployment claims fall to pandemic-era low

National claims for unemployment benefits fell to a pandemic-era low in the most recent week, the government reported Thursday morning.

This is good news, and the federal situation generally dovetails with what jobs officials are seeing and hearing locally, Montgomery County Interim Workforce Director Garth McLean said.

“We are seeing an improvement in the unemployment numbers,” McLean said.

The best areas for hiring are “across the board,” he said. “Everyone is looking for help right now.”

But he singled warehousing and distribution, manufacturing, and even the hospitality and travel sectors showing strength as well, he said.

“Right now the job market is very good,” McLean said.

In the week ending June 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial benefits claims nationally was 364,000, a decrease of 51,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the federal government said.

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This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when that number stood at 256,000.

In Ohio, there were 10,473 claims for traditional unemployment benefits in the week ending June 26, with 3,978 claims for pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA), the state of Ohio said.

In Montgomery County, there were 500 initial claims for benefits and 3,606 continued claims for the week ending June 26.

Butler County saw 248 initial claims, with 2,159 claims continuing in the same week. In Warren County, those numbers stood at 121 and 1,032, respectively. And in Clark County, claims counts stood at 533 and 925, again respectively.

McLean said his office can help residents with job searches, training to attain a better job, resume writing and more. The office is no longer serving by appointment only, he noted. “Anyone can feel free to just walk into the jobs center,” at 1111 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. in Dayton, he said.

Anyone wanting to contact the Montgomery County Jobs Center office can do so at (937) 225-5627 or go to TheJobsCenter.org and hit the “contact” button.

PNC Financial expects job growth of 600,000 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the June jobs report today.

“The labor market continues to recover from the viral recession,” PNC economist Gus Faucher said Thursday. “The U.S. economy has added some 14 million jobs since the labor market bottomed out in April of last year, but employment in May 2021 was still some 7.5 million below its pre-pandemic level.”

But PNC does not expect employment to recover to its pre-pandemic level in the second quarter of 2022.

Over the last 67 weeks, the state has distributed over $12 billion in unemployment compensation payments to over 1 million Ohioans. And Ohio has issued over $10.7 billion in PUA payments to over 1.1 million Ohioans.

The previous week’s federal claims level was revised up by 4,000 from 411,000 to 415,000.