COLUMBUS -- Continued applications for unemployment benefits have declined for the eighth straight week, the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services reported Thursday.

Those who remain jobless filed 314,744 fewer continued claims last week, compared to the peak in April due to the state-ordered shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, for the week ending June 20, ODJFS reported 34,553 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The total number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 14 weeks (1,395,184) is more than the combined total of those filed during the last three years.

Over the last 14 weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $4.4 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 716,000 claimants. Of the more than 1 million applications the agency has received, about 94 percent have been processed, with less than 6 percent pending.

In addition, ODJFS has issued more than $2.8 billion in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to more than 332,000 claimants.

While ODJFS continues to manage the state’s unemployment program, it also has multiple initiatives under way to help spur Ohio’s economic recovery. These include an $8.5 million National Dislocated Worker Grant that will help unemployed workers and employers impacted by COVID-19.

ODJFS works in partnership with local workforce development boards and local staff to provide employment and training services at 22 comprehensive and 66 affiliate OhioMeansJobs centers throughout the state.

Individuals can visit OhioMeansJobs.com or their local OhioMeansJobs center to find and apply for job openings, take skill and career interest assessments, create or improve their resumes, and practice interviewing.

Employers can call or visit their nearest OhioMeansJobs center to get help finding skilled candidates for jobs, screening resumes, learning about federally funded tax credits or training programs, and more.

To find your nearest OhioMeansJobs center, go to jfs.ohio.gov/county or visit OhioMeansJobs.com and click on the icon for OhioMeansJobs centers.

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