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There were 3,895 new unemployment claims in Ohio last Sunday through last Wednesday, which was last year, really, before All Of This happened.
Working proactively and with the best medical information at hand, Gov. Mike DeWine took swift and early action late last week to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Parades, games, concerts and most events were canceled. Then came the restaurants and bars. Yesterday it was salons, barbershops and tattoo shops. Retail is basically done, outside of grocery stores and big box stores.
The economic repurcussions have been severe and swift in just those few days, and they will continue to arrive in devastating fashion if this week's new unemployment claim numbers are any indication.
Compared to nearly 4,000 during the same period last week, there were 111,055 new claims this week. As a reminder, it's only Thursday.
Unfortunately, as Cleveland.com noted this morning
, while DeWine's executive order waiving the usual one-week waiting period for unemployment has been applauded and the Department of Labor has relaxed unemployment insurance requirements that will expand the pool of those who qualify for benefits, many low-paid/part-time workers in Ohio will not currently qualify to receive money from the state because they didn't work enough hours in a week or work long enough. Ohio's requirements state you must work at least 20 weeks and average $269 a week over that period to qualify.
“Beyond the question of contract and gig economy workers, even many employees are not going to be able to take advantage of this because of Ohio's overly stringent earnings requirements, which are among the toughest in the country,” Policy Matters Ohio's Zach Schiller told Cleveland. “If you make the $8.70 an hour, which is Ohio’s minimum wage, and you work 30 hours a week, you don’t meet this overly strict earnings test. That’s why in the fourth quarter of last year just 21% of Ohio's unemployed were getting unemployment benefits.
Staff at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services are now bombarded with calls, as the website is likewise bombarded with traffic, but they've extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to handle the overwhelming demand.
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