LIMA — The number of new jobless claims reported in Ohio in the last two weeks has already surpassed the total received in all of 2019, a harrowing statistic as millions of Americans suddenly find themselves out of work in the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services received 468,414 new unemployment claims between March 16 and March 28. And those figures do not include new unemployment claims from this week or those who have not yet had their application approved.
There were 364,603 new jobless claims in Ohio last year.
The record number of Ohioans trying to file new jobless claims has overwhelmed the state’s unemployment phone lines and website, prompting the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to expand call center hours, hire more staff and add new servers for the website.
“It’s important to keep in mind that during previous economic downturns, claims came in waves as the recession worsened and businesses closed gradually, over time,” the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services stated in a press release on Thursday. “In this case, the claims came in all at once and created a tsunami. Such a large number of claims in a short period of time would tax any online system, especially one that is 16 years old.”
Ohioans are not alone: The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday reported another 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, bringing the number of Americans who have lost their jobs in two weeks to 10 million.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.