COLUMBUS, Ohio — The number of people who have filed for unemployment in Ohio since the coronavirus pandemic began is simply staggering.
Nearly 1 million new jobless claims were made within the last five weeks, according to data released Thursday morning by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS).
Ohio now stands at 964,566 initial jobless claims, including 109,369 that were filed last week alone.
"To put that in perspective, the total for the last five weeks of claims is 249,054 more than the combined total of 715,512 for the last two years," ODJFS officials said in a press release.
State officials say more than $926 million in unemployment compensation has been paid out during these five weeks to more than 376,000 people.
The numbers nationwide have now topped 26 million.
With this increase in unemployment applications, many have experienced a delay in the process.
"All eligible Ohioans will receive their unemployment benefits – and any delays in processing their claims will not reduce the amount received. ODJFS will not rest until all eligible Ohioans are served."
If you're filing for unemployment, here's what you need to know:
- You can file online HERE.
- You can file by calling 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.
- A new process asks Ohioans to file on designated days of the week. Those who have a last name beginning with ‘A’ through ‘H’ should file on Sundays. Mondays will be designated for individuals ‘I’ through ‘P’ and Tuesdays for the rest of the alphabet. Wednesday through Saturday will be open to anyone, but officials warn to expect higher volume those days.
- If your job loss is a result of the coronavirus, you should enter 2000180 as the mass-layoff number while filing your unemployment application. If you have already submitted claims without this number, you do NOT need to add it.
"Each claim is important to us, and we recognize the hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many Ohio families," ODJFS officials said. "We are expanding staff support, working longer hours, and adding more technological capacity so that we can serve Ohioans as quickly as possible. We have extended our call center to a seven-day-a-week operation and have more than 1,600 staff taking calls, with plans to launch a virtual call center by the end of this week."