The U.S. Department of Labor released data from another staggering week of unemployment claims, bringing the national total to more than 26 million in the last five weeks.
In the same five-week period, Ohio had nearly 850,000 jobless claims, which is roughly 15 percent of the state’s workforce.
The financial services website, MoneyGeek.com, is now forecasting peak COVID-19 related unemployment in Ohio to be at an unprecedented 29 percent, which is about 1,675,000 unemployed workers.
The latest report covers the week ending Saturday, April 18, and provided credible evidence to support some economist’s predictions that the nationwide jobless rate would reach an historic 25 percent by early summer.
Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis issued a more ominous warning earlier in the month, predicting the rate could reach a stunning 32 percent by the end of June.
To place those predictions into historical perspective, the unemployment rate during the Great Depression peaked at 24.9 percent in 1933.
To arrive at their jobless claims statistics, the website said it relied on data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance weekly claims report and FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) research.
They indicated that search tools such as Google Trends and government data were used to forecast upcoming jobless numbers.
MoneyGeek updates actual unemployment figures weekly with the Thursday release of the latest government data on initial jobless claims for the previous week.
The next unemployment report for the state of Ohio is due on Thursday, April 30 for the week ending Saturday, April 25.
Both the Ohio and Highland County office of Job and Family Services urged individuals to file their unemployment claims online, if possible, at unemployment.ohio.gov.
Those without internet access or who need help with PIN resets can call 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.
The agency stressed that workers who lost their jobs as a direct result of the pandemic shutdown can enter the mass-layoff number “2000180” on their applications, but if they already submitted claims without that number, they don’t need to add it.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.