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Study: Ohio experiencing the slowest workforce recovery from COVID-19 in the U.S.

WalletHub reports weekly unemployment claims in Ohio have increased nearly 2000% from this time two years ago. State leaders say some recent data may be fraudulent.

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The video above aired on January 25, 2021

There is some encouraging news when it comes to workforce recovery in the United States in this time of COVID-19

According to a study just released by WalletHub, new unemployment claims in the nation decreased week-over-week on February 1, a sign of progress toward recovery.

There are currently 10.1 million Americans unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in total. Last week, there were 793,000 new unemployment claims nationwide, considerably fewer than the 6.9 million during the peak of the pandemic (an 88% reduction).

However, a deeper dive into the numbers from WalletHub shows that of all the states in the nation, Ohio is experiencing the slowest workforce recovery. 

WalletHub looked at three key data points in compiling their rankings:

  • Change in Number of Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims in Latest Week vs. 2019 
  • Change in Number of Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims in Latest Week vs. Start of 2020 
  • Change in Number of Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis vs. Previous Year

Using those metrics, WalletHub found that Ohio had 137,938 unemployment claims for the week of February 1, 2021 vs 6,584 the week of February 4, 2019. This is an increase of 1,995.05%.

Ohio's 137,938 unemployment claims for the week of February 1, 2021 compares to 10,759 the week of January 1, 2020, an increase of 1,182.07%

Both of those numbers put Ohio at #51 on WalletHub's list behind every state and the District of Columbia. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Ohio has reported 2,423,602 unemployment claims between the week of March 16, 2020 and the week of February 1, 2021 vs 328,840 between the week of March 18, 2019 and the week of February 3, 2020. The percentage change of 737.02% puts Ohio at No. 30 in the nation in that category. 

UPDATE: On February 11, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported that there was a 194% increase in unemployment claims between the weeks of January 30 and February 6 that is likely due to fraud. 

The week ending January 30, 2021, saw more than 47,700 jobless claims filed in Ohio. 140,444 new unemployment claims were filed during the week ending Feb. 6, 2021.

According to the ODJFS, 44,000 claims have been flagged and are being reviewed as suspected fraud.  Even more of the more than 140,000 claims last week are expected to be fraudulent too.

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