Over 40,000 Ohioans filed initial jobless claims last week

Daniel Fowler
January 21, 2021

The Labor Department said Thursday another 900,000 Americans filed new jobless claims last week, down 26,000 from the revised level of the previous week.

Washingtonians filed 19,212 new, or "initial", claims last week, a 29.2% decrease from the week before, the ESD reported Thursday. Before the pandemic hit, in February 2020, the national unemployment rate was at a half-century low of 3.5%.

Adding to the toll were 423,734 new filings made under a programme for self-employed people not normally eligible for benefits, while as of the week of Jan 2, the Labour Department said almost 16 million people were receiving some form of aid from the government - a figure that's expected to rise.

The government said that 5.1 million Americans are continuing to receive state jobless benefits, down from 5.2 million in the previous week. The report shows an 18% decrease in initial claims for regular UI but little difference in continued claims. Nearly 70 million Americans, or about 40% of the labor force, have filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic. That can result in temporary lapses of aid as recipients have to reapply to overwhelmed state unemployment offices.

All told, almost 16 million people were receiving some form of aid from the government as of January 2 - a figure that's expected to rise.

Bild: Germany’s Merkel wants to extend lockdown until February 15
Under the new restrictions, most shops, schools and non-essential business, such as gyms and sports centres, will remain closed. The German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "The reason is the mutation of the virus that has appeared".

The agency has rolled out several new benefits authorized in the recent federal stimulus law, including an extra $300 a week that claimants began receiving this month. Restaurants, bars, hotels and casinos have either been forced to close or limit capacity. It means more Americans will become eligible again even though their benefits had expired.

The nation's unemployment rate stands at 6.7%, and almost 10 million fewer Americans have jobs now than at the beginning of 2020.

Congress provided a temporary extension of unemployment aid as part of a $900 billion relief bill passed last month.

Those payments have likely helped drive an increase in spending on debit and credit cards issued by Bank of America, economists at the bank wrote last week.

Agency officials have said that claims data isn't available because recently extended federal benefits have changed how ESD calculates who is receiving benefits and how long it takes to pay some claimants. Biden's $1.9 trillion proposal will require congressional approval.

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