by J.D. Davidson
A recent report shows Ohio continues to struggle to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic when compared with the rest of the nation.
A state-by-state comparison from the personal-finance website WalletHub showed the among the biggest increases in unemployment claims compared with a week ago. Ohio had the ninth-largest increase week-over-over.
“Ohio’s unemployment claims experienced the ninth-biggest increase in the past week. Compared to the same week in 2019, there are almost 75% more claims registered, and over 62% more compared to the first week of 2020, some of the highest increases in the country,” WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said. “Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Ohio has had an over 120% rise in unemployment claims, the 13th-largest nationwide.”
Compared with last year, Ohio’s weekly unemployment claims decreased by more than 53%, but that was the 24th-smallest decrease in the country.
Ohio neighbors Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia all struggled with weekly claims, with Indiana ranking third, Kentucky fifth and West Virginia 15th with the largest increases from a week ago.
Based on the December numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor, however, Ohio’s unemployment rate fell in November for the second consecutive month, dropping from 5.1% in October to 4.8% in November.
The national unemployment rate stood at 4.2% in November.
Gonzalez predicted 2022 will show significant job gains across the nation, possibly surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
“The omicron variant could delay unemployment decreases in the short term,” Gonzalez said. “However, 2022 will most likely be another year of job gains that might even surpass the pre-pandemic levels. The good news is that the omicron variant seems to be much less severe than the previous strains and should peak soon. If that’s the case, unemployment rates should start to drop even more in the coming months.”
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.