Unemployment figures tend to rise, but still below pre-pandemic levels | Local News

Unemployment figures in Ashtabula County have been slowly rising since late November, but the total number of claims remains below pre-pandemic levels.

There were 136 new unemployment claims and 529 pending claims in Ashtabula County for the week ending Jan. 8, according to information from the Ohio Department of Employment and Family Services. The total number of claims has been slowly increasing since the number of claims hit a low of 371 in the week ending November 27.

Unemployment claims peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, with 5,881 total claims reported in the week ending August 25.

Greater Ashtabula Chamber of Commerce executive director Greg Church said employers in the area continue to struggle to find people to apply and find quality candidates.

“It’s really unbelievable, but it’s still kind of general sense,” Church said.

Church said one thing he’s heard from others is that the pandemic is forcing people close to retirement age to retire early.

“I think a lot of people who consider themselves unemployed and are looking, most find something, because there are a lot of options, but there aren’t a lot of people to fill those many options,” said Church.

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