Jefferson City: In Ohio, more than 48,000 people applied for jobless benefits during the first two days of this week. The tally during the same period the prior week: just 1,825.
In neighboring Pennsylvania, about 70,000 people sought unemployment aid in a single day six times the total for the entire previous week.
Jobless claims are surging across the U.S. after government officials ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay at home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
“We’ve been getting flooded with calls,” said John Dodds, director of the nonprofit Philadelphia Unemployment Project. “It’s going to be a big mess, a double mess: illness and unemployment.”
The growing number of people filing for unemployment checks raises fresh questions about whether states have stockpiled enough money since the last recession to tide over idled workers until the crisis ends. Some fear the demand for help could outpace the states’ ability to pay claims.