The number of Ohioans filing for initial unemployment claims continues to fall, as the following graph of 52-week trailing claims demonstrates:
In early January 2008, the average of the previous 52 weeks, which is therefore primarily a reflection on what happened during 2007, was 12,247. That number peaked at 23,475 during October of 2009, meaning that during the previous 52 weeks, roughly 1.22 million Buckeye State workers, or nearly one-quarter of the state’s workforce (assuming few if any duplicates), filed for assistance.
Since that point, which occurred about four months after the recession’s official end in June 2009, the 52-week average has come down considerably. Most of the reduction occurred before former governor Ted Strickland left office in January 2011; reductions continued, but at a slower pace, after current Governor John Kasich took office. As of mid-April of this year, the 52-week average trailing claims figure is only about 500 weekly claims above where it was over four years ago. Only 9,558 initial claims were filed during the most recent report reflecting activity for the week ending April 14.
Looking ahead, if weekly claims average 10,000 or fewer during the next eight weeks, the 52-week average will be back to its early-2008 level — quite an improvement in a state where over 425,000 jobs were lost from 2007 through 2009. The biggest storm cloud on the horizon is the question of how much the nationwide slowdown in job growth seen during March and especially during April will affect the Buckeye State.