County unemployment numbers fall

Unemployment levels in the county have fallen below 1,000 for the first time since mid-March.

For the week ending on May 1, 131 new claims were filed and and 868 people filed continuing claims, for a total of 999 people filing for unemployment in the county, according to information from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Unemployment claims reached a peak of 5,881 in mid-April of last year, and fell steadily until November, which saw another rise in claims. Since February, unemployment claims have fallen steadily.

The last week where county unemployment claims were under 1,000 was the week ending in March 14, 2020, when a total of 781 people in Ashtabula County filed for unemployment, according to information from ODJFS. The next week, that number more than doubled to 1,969.

Commissioner Casey Kozlowski said he was pleased to hear that the county’s unemployment claim numbers have gone down.

“It’s of course my hope that we can bring that number down even further,” he said. “There’s a lot of businesses here in the area that are hiring and are desperately looking for [help]. Hopefully that trend continues, and we’re able to get more of the folks that are on unemployment back into the job market.”

The unemployment numbers could drop further as the county enters the height of tourism season, Kozlowski said.

Kozlowski said a wide variety of sectors are hiring.

Ashtabula County Auditor David Thomas said the number of fraudulent claims he saw in county government has dropped off significantly. A total of 48 fraudulent claims were filed in the name of county employees, but they stopped being filed around a month ago, Thomas said.

There are still a number of businesses that are looking to hire more people, Thomas said.

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