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Spiritus Tattoo, a tattoo parlor in Clintonville, is closed as a non-essential business. A sign posted on the storefront window cautions would-be criminals that all valuables have been removed.
Cindy Gaillard / WOSU

The office that oversees unemployment benefits in Ohio is adding employees to keep up with demand.

Parents and other caregivers of children who are learning at home while schools are closed – even for part of the week – can receive weekly cash benefits, regardless of whether they would normally qualify for unemployment.

That’s according to guidance released at the end of August from the U.S. Department of Labor about who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The program, part of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief plan, is aimed at those affected by the virus who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. 

Another 881,000 people applied for state unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department says. That's 130,000 fewer than the previous week. But the report comes with an asterisk.

The department just changed the way it adjusts claims data to account for seasonal variation. That should make the reports more accurate in the weeks to come. But it also means the reported change from the previous week is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Without the seasonal adjustment, state unemployment claims rose by more than 7,500.

Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET

New claims for unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time in four months — since March 28 — as states began reimposing lockdown restrictions in an effort to reverse a surge of coronavirus cases.

More than 1.4 million new claims were filed during the week ending July 18, an increase of more than 100,000 over the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

A sign in the window of Trattoria Roma in Grandview on May 14, 2020.
David Holm / WOSU

A collection of health and human services advocates are urging Ohio leaders to immediately work on revamping the unemployment compensation system in order to avoid another backlog of claims.

A closed sign is posted at Pins Mechanical duckpin bowling alley and bar in downtown Columbus.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio’s jobless rate has improved slightly since businesses began reopening. But as COVID-19 continues spreading through the state, one Central Ohio economist says the rest of 2020 will be difficult.

Ohio Senate president Larry Obhof is defending income tax cuts in their version of the budget, which must be finalized by this weekend.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

The fund that Ohio uses to pay jobless benefits is now broke – a fate that was predicted even before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, state leaders are struggling with how to pay back the money being borrowed to keep those unemployment checks coming.

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in downtown Columbus.
Ohio Public Radio

Ohio's unemployment compensation fund is officially broke, and the state has asked the federal government to borrow $3.1 billion so payments can keep going out to out-of-work residents.

President Trump, touting May's lower-than-expected unemployment rate Friday, said a strong economy was the "greatest thing that could happen for race relations."

And he seemed to proclaim that George Floyd, whose killing by police in Minneapolis has sparked more than a week of protests, would be happy with the economic news.

Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET

The U.S economy rebounded with surprising strength last month as businesses began to reopen from the coronavirus lockdown. U.S. employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%.

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Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET

More than 1 in 4 U.S. workers have lost their jobs since the coronavirus crisis shut down much of the economy in March.

Just last week, another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's down 323,000 from the previous week but brings the total for the past 10 weeks to 40.8 million, which represents 26% of the civilian labor force in April.

 This April 22, 2014, file photo shows an employment application form on a table during a job fair at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, N.Y.
Mike Groll / Associated Press

The state official in charge of the agency administering Ohio's unemployment system was on the hot seat Wednesday before a panel of state lawmakers.

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in downtown Columbus.
Ohio Public Radio

As Ohio’s businesses reopen, workers are concerned about the availability of child care, the cleanliness of their workplaces and the safety of vulnerable family members before going back to work.

Melissa Kelsey drove for Lyft and Uber in Columbus, but the coronavirus made demand plummet.
Eye On Ohio

Carmine Ballard graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016, with two Bachelor of Arts degrees— one in psychology, another in women's and gender studies. Ballard’s parents helped them through college, paying their tuition, but Ballard still ended up with about $10,000 worth of federal student loans by graduation, for living expenses during college.

"Closed" signs on the front of a restaurant in Bexley near downtown Columbus.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

Ohio’s unemployment rate reached a record high of 16.8% in April, nearly triple the month before, as COVID-19 closures fully hit economic activity.

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