unemployment

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.

Columbus City Councilmember Elizabeth Brown (left) speaks out about proposed cuts to refugee admissions as Columbus City Councilmember Rob Dorans (right) looks on.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Columbus City Council passed emergency legislation on Monday to help supplement resident’s income if they get sick with COVID-19.

Ohio Auditor Keith Faber wants to expand the public records mediation program in the state.
Tony Dejak / AP

A new law that sends $650 million in federal CARES Act money to Ohio communities to help with pandemic-related costs also includes a potential overhaul for the process to apply for unemployment benefits.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, left, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Ohio's two U.S. senators are calling for Congress to pass more coronavirus relief measures, as President Trump goes back-and-forth on the possibility of new funds for people struggling during the pandemic.

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

Job growth slowed sharply in September, as U.S. employers added just 661,000 new workers.

The report from the Labor Department is the last snapshot of the job market before the November election, and it comes hours after President Trump and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus.

Jean lost her job as a school bus driver in Chicago during the pandemic. She was managing OK with unemployment money. But then, about two weeks ago, she got a desperate call from her adult son.

"His job had laid him off, and he wasn't able to pay rent," she says. There was an eviction moratorium in Chicago, but Jean says the landlord wanted her son out anyway.

She says the landlord got someone to threaten her son, and to shoot his dog — a German shepherd mix he'd had for years.

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. 

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Columbus City Council has voted to create a new commission to investigate wage theft claims.

Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET

Kris Snyder didn't set out to be a professional musician. She began her working life as a corporate trainer for a big retail company. But after churning through seven managers in five years, she got fed up. She gave up a regular paycheck and corporate benefits and started looking for music gigs.

"Weddings, funerals, parties — that sort of thing," says Snyder, a fourth-generation harpist.

Cynthia Maclin cannot get out of bed most days.

Chronic lung disease leaves her short of breath and ended her 45-year career as a medical administrator. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in her hometown of Chicago, and Maclin has already lost eight friends and family members to the virus, including the father of her two daughters. For the first time, this month, she's also unable to pay rent.

Updated at 10:19 a.m. ET

U.S. employers added 1.4 million jobs last month, down from 1.7 million in July. The unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, from 10.2% a month earlier.

While the monthly snapshot from the Labor Department shows improvement, job growth has slowed steadily since June in a sign of what could be a long and painful recovery from the pandemic recession.

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.

Ohioans receiving unemployment benefits can expect an additional $300 weekly starting mid-to-late September. The payments will be retroactive, going back to Aug. 1.

Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) President John Baker told ideastream those additional funds are “really a lifeline” for many restaurant employees, whose industry has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. 

Downtown Columbus, buildings and water.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

Franklin County is among four counties that saw their public health emergency levels reduced this week due to dropping rates of new COVID-19 cases.

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

Ohio has released for payment around a fifth of the 270,000 jobless claims placed on hold during a fraud investigation. For self-employed workers and independent contractors, it was yet another roadblock to getting compensation during the pandemic.

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