COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 272,117 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Dept. of Labor for the week ending March 28, which set a record for the second straight week.

The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last two week stands at 468,414.

To put that in perspective, 364,603 initial jobless claims were filed during the entire year in 2019.

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Over these last two weeks, ODJFS issued unemployment compensation payments totaling more than $45 million to more than 108,000 claimants.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services urges individuals to file their claims online, if possible, at unemployment.ohio.gov.

"Each claim is important to us, and we recognize the hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many Ohio families. We have been working around the clock to streamline performance and boost capacity by adding servers so the online claims system can handle the unprecedented influx of claims, which has affected processing times. We also have reassigned more than 300 ODJFS employees to assist with call volume to increase our service capabilities," ODJFS said in an email.

"It's important to keep in mind that during previous economic downturns, claims came in waves as the recession worsened and businesses closed gradually, over time. In this case, the claims came in all at once and created a tsunami. Such a large number of claims in a short period of time would tax any online system, especially one that is 16 years old," the agency said.

Helpful FAQ Sheets General Information: jfs.ohio.gov/unemp_comp_faq/index.stm

Coronavirus-Specific Information: jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Expanded Call Center Hours Those without internet access or who need help with PIN resets can call 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.

Coronavirus-Related Claims Workers who lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus can enter the mass-layoff number 2000180 on their applications. However, if affected individuals have already submitted claims without this number, they do not need to add it.

As a reminder, mass-layoff notices are posted at jfs.ohio.gov/warn/current.stm.