Continued Unemployment Claims Trend Down in Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Continued unemployment claims in Ohio dipped for the third week in a row, while initial unemployment claims ticked back up after two weeks of declines.

For the week ended Oct. 30, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 7,375 initial jobless claims, up from 7.044 the week prior.

Continued unemployment claims, however, declined to 40,050, from 42,410 the week ended Oct. 23. Ohio reported 47,425 total unemployment claims the week ended Oct. 30, which is down from the 49,454 claims reported for the prior week.

Ohio’s unemployment rate in September was 5.4% compared to the national rate of 4.8%. The state’s labor force participation rate for that month was 61.1%, compared to the national rate of 61.6%.

In Pennsylvania, initial claims for the week ended Oct. 23 – the most recent data available – were 8,511, down from 9,608 the week prior, reported the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis. Continued unemployment claims in the commonwealth increased to 105,794 from 102,226 the week ended Oct. 16.

Nationally, unemployment claims reached another pandemic low.

Jobless claims dropped by 14,000 to 269,000 last week. Since topping 900,000 in early January, the weekly applications have fallen more or less steadily ever since and are gradually moving toward prepandemic levels of around 220,000 a week.

Overall, 2.1 million Americans were collecting unemployment checks the week of Oct. 23 — down from 7.1 million a year earlier when the economy was still reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly ups and downs, dropped below 285,000, also a pandemic low.

The job market has been rebounding since the pandemic struck the U.S. economy in the spring of 2020. In March and April of that year, employers slashed more 22 million jobs as governments ordered lockdowns and consumers and workers stayed home as a health precaution.

Government relief checks and the rollout of vaccines have given consumers the confidence and financial wherewithal to resume spending — so much so that companies have scrambled to keep up with surging demand. They complain they can’t find workers to fill their job openings — a near record 10.4 million in August — and are being forced to raise wages, offer signing bonuses and improve benefits and working conditions.

The economy has recovered 17 million of the jobs lost to the pandemic, and economists expect Friday’s jobs report to show that it regained another 400,000 in October. But the United States is still 5 million jobs short of where it stood in February 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.