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Ohio Valley Still Processing Significant Unemployment Claims

Unemployment office in Kentucky.
Becca Schimmel
An unemployment office in Kentucky back in April 2020. The state's unemployment rate in April 2022 is at a record low.

Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

Nearly 260,000 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in addition to the more than one million unemployment assistance applications people in the Ohio Valley made since mid-March.

The data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor showing more than 4.4 million unemployment claims around the country for the week, bringing the country’s total jobless applicants to approximately 26 million since mid-March.

Labor Department figures for the week ending April 18 show Kentucky with 103,548 claims; Ohio with 108,801; and West Virginia with 46,251.

Backlogs of unemployment insurance claims across Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia continue to be a problem with some people initially being rejected for their unemployment claim.

The data reported to the U.S. Department of Labor only accounts for unemployment assistance that has been processed.

Governors in the three states followed advice from health officials to close many businesses and schools and enact other policies to limit person-to-person contact beginning in mid-March. Since then more than 1.5 million people have filed initial claims for unemployment insurance. Here are those totals reported to the Labor Dept. by state from March 21 through April 18:

  • Kentucky 499,132
  • Ohio 962,897
  • West Virginia 93,449

This story has been updated.