Unemployment claims fall by only 33,000

Applications for claims mostly hold steady in the past two weeks as recovery slows

The jobs recovery has slowed down considerably.

In the week ending September 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment benefits was 860,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

The previous week’s level was revised up by 9,000 from 884,000 to 893,000.

Weekly first-time claims for jobless benefits have hovered around or just below 900,000 in recent weeks, a signal drop from the approximately seven million weekly claims filed in late March but still at very high historical levels.

The upshot is that layoffs continue to be an historically high problem, even though nationally about half the jobs lost since the spring have been replaced. Some observers think the jobs recovery has stalled.

The data comes out as the state of Ohio has begun paying an additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits, retroactive to Aug. 1, from the temporary program executive-ordered by President Donald Trump last month.

The pay is meant to be a partial replacement for $600 in added unemployment benefits recipients had been receiving through the end of July under the relief bill known as the CARES Act.

Montgomery County residents filed 858 first-time claims for benefits in the week ending Sept. 12, with 15,066 claims ongoing from earlier weeks.

In Clark County, 141 claims for initial benefits were matched by 2,930 claims ongoing. In Butler County, those numbers were 425 and 9,145 respectively, while in Warren County, they were 180 and 4,378.

PNC Financial Chief Economist Gus Faucher predicted that it will take years for the labor market to fully recover.

“With initial claims at almost four times their pace before the pandemic, layoffs are far higher than normal,” Faucher said in a note. “In addition, initial claims have been roughly flat since early August, suggesting that the pace of improvement in layoffs is slowing, although they are down substantially from above 6 million in late March, at the worst of the jobs crisis.”

He added: :Conditions are getting better, with total claims down from May, but tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed."

Ohioans filed 16,294 first-time jobless claims last week, 257,921 fewer than the state’s peak earlier this year. Meanwhile, 320,532 claims were continuing from previous weeks, also down from this year’s earlier peak.

The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 26 weeks -- 1,698,355 -- was more than the combined total of those filed during the last four years.

Over the last six or so months, ODJFS has distributed more than $6.3 billion in unemployment payments to more than 804,000 Ohioans.

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