COLUMBUS (WCMH) — More than 60,000 unemployment claims were filed in Ohio during the last week.
According to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, 61,083 more unemployment claims were filed in Ohio for the week ending May 2.
The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last seven weeks of 1,118,569 is 1,112 more than the combined total of 1,117,457 for the last three years.
Another wave of claims is coming.
The federal pandemic relief bill provided unemployment benefits for sole proprietors, gig workers, independent contractors and others not normally eligible for benefits.
Greg Wolfe is one of more than 208,000 self-employed Ohioans who have pre-registered for those unemployment benefits in Ohio. But the state is still trying to get a system in place to process those claims.
“Come next month, unless something comes through and we get some back unemployment, I will not be able to make all of my June bills thats for sure,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe had a successful dog walking service but nearly all of his clients are still working from home and don’t need his services.
While he has pre-registered for benefits on the state website, he’s not sure he will qualify. “
The old, cliched line, ‘We’re in this together’ … it doesn’t feel that way,” Wolfe said. “It’s been very disappointing and discouraging and to be just kind of left out in the wind of how this is all playing out and again, we’re going on months now.”
Kimberly Hall, Director of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, says the pre-registration gives the state an idea of what’s coming when the new system goes online.
“We are on track with ideally next week being able to launch Phase Two, which will enable those who have pre-registered or those who didn’t pre-register,” Hall said. “They can still come in and start their process.”
During these last seven weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $1.9 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 536,000 Ohioans.
In the U.S., roughly 33.5 million people have filed for jobless aid in the seven weeks since the coronavirus began forcing millions of companies to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is the equivalent of one in five Americans who had been employed back in February when the unemployment rate had reached a 50-year low of just 3.5 percent.
ODJFS is asking individuals to file their claims online at unemployment.ohio.gov .