FILE - Virus Outbreak Illinois Unemployment

A woman looks at signs at a store closed due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill., Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Jobless claims in Ohio continued to drop in the week ending May 9.

In that week, 50,548 residents filed unemployment claims, a decrease of approximately 11,000 new claims from the week ending May 2, when 61,487 workers filed new claims.

Since restrictions on businesses were put in place to slow the spead of COVID-19, more than 36 million U.S. workers have filed for unemployment benefits, according to U.S. Department of Labor data released Thursday. That number represents 21.8 percent of the nation’s workforce.

Ohio’s additional unemployment claims in the week ending May 9 brings the approximate total of the state’s unemployed since the onset of COVID-19 restrictions to 876,491.

The nation’s highest unemployment rates by state in the week ending April 25 were California with 27.7 percent unemployment and Michigan with 23.1 percent. Other states close behind Michigan are Nevada (22 percent), Pennsylvania (21 percent), Rhode Island (20.6 percent), Georgia (20.2 percent), Vermont (20 percent), New York (18.6 percent), Connecticut (18 percent) and Washington (18 percent).

Nationwide, in the week ending May 9, initial unemployment claims dropped 195,000 from the previous week ending May 2.  Connecticut led all states with 298,680 new claims for unemployment. Oklahoma had the biggest drops in claims, with a 65 percent decline from the prior week.

Federal legislation enacted to respond to the near-total shutdown of most states’ economies made many people eligible for benefits who otherwise wouldn’t be, including the self-employed individuals, independent contractors and “gig economy” workers, like drivers for ride-sharing companies.

Regional Editor

Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.