Does decrease in unemployment claims show recovering economy?

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The newest unemployment numbers are in, and in Ohio, more than 35,000 initial claims were filed last week.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said over the last 12 weeks, 1,327,843 initial claims have been filed in the state, which is more than the last three years combined.

ODJFS said they have paid more than $3.8 billion in unemployment benefits to more than 686,000 claimants in the last 12 weeks.

In the week ending June 6, 35,430 new claims were filed but that’s down 855 from the previous week. Dr. Jeff Haymond, an economics professor from Cedarville University said unemployment is a lagging indicator of how the economy is doing, so it could be doing better than people assume.

“The last thing a firm wants to do is bring an employee back online out of unemployment and then have to lay them off again,” said Haymond. “So generally, businesses tend to wait until the recovery is well underway to bring people on.”

But he said we’re still in a very bad spot and have only started the recovery process. He believes jobs will continue to come back, but the question is the pace, and that’s no easy answer.

“We’re in a global economy and certainly a domestic economy across the U.S.,” said Haymond. “We have businesses that depend on other businesses elsewhere, and to the extent those businesses are shut down still, we have an uneven pace of recovery.”

While these unemployment numbers are historic, Haymond said we’ve never shut down the economy deliberately, so there’s hope.

He said medical advancements could increase the speed of economic recovery with a second wave of COVID-19 likely, but a second economic shutdown would be devastating.

“It really is going to rely on the underlying health conditions and some of the public policy decisions,” said Haymond. “We need to provide incentives for people to go back to work and to open up business. We need to make it easier, not harder, for us to get back to work.”

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