COLUMBUS -- It's been a record-setting bad month for unemployment claims in Ohio, thanks to the coronavirus.

For the week ending March 21, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 187,780 initial jobless claims to U.S. Dept. of Labor. That's up from 7,042 the previous week.

As another point of reference, here are the the top five all-time MONTHLY initial jobless claims filed during the heat of the early 1980s recession.

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Deccember 1981 -- 205,159

December 1982 -- 167,638

November 1982 -- 166,907

January -- 164,962

January 1983 -- 164,293

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," the agency said in an email. "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.

"It's important to keep in mind that during previous downturns in the economy, claims came in waves as the recession worsened and industries began to shut down whereas these claims came in all at once and created a tsunami. This amount of claims in this short expanse of time would tax any online system, especially one that is 16 years old. It’s also important to note that unemployment insurance automated systems around the country are also struggling with the increased claims load," JFS said.

Helpful FAQ Sheets

General Information: jfs.ohio.gov/unemp_comp_faq/index.stm

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

Extended Call Center Hours

Those without internet access or who have case-specific questions can call 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

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.