Economy

Ohio Valley Weekly Unemployment Claims Down Slightly To 82K

Jun 4, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

As the Ohio Valley continues its phased-in reopening, unemployment insurance claims are down slightly compared to the week before. The region is still reporting high levels of unemployment assistance applications.

At least 82,011 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bigstock

Here’s something that might surprise you: A new national survey shows that regardless of political affiliation, Americans are mostly in agreement over how to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic  -- slowly -- and with protective measures like face masks.

Questions And Anxiety Mount Over COVID-19 Workplace Safety As More Businesses Reopen

May 31, 2020
Workers sort envelopes at the Amazon fulfillment center.
J. Tyler Franklin / Ohio Valley ReSource

 


Gail Fleck is a school cafeteria worker in the greater Cincinnati area and lives with her 90-year-old father. She loves her job because she gets to work with kids. But she is worried she won’t be able to keep her dad safe if her work exposes her to the coronavirus and she unknowingly brings it home. 

“I’m scared, I’m worried. I feel like, we’re talking about life and death here and this is my father,” she said. 

Food is ready for loading and distribution the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington, West Virginia..
Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting file photo

A new federal program is buying more than $1 billion in farm products such as dairy, produce and meat unable to be sold due to the pandemic’s disruptions to the food supply and send “food boxes'' to needy families. But some anti-hunger advocates worry that parts of the Ohio Valley may be overlooked in getting this aid.

Ohio Valley Unemployment Claims Exceed 100,000

May 28, 2020
Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

As some businesses in the Ohio Valley reopen and welcome back both customers and employees the region continues reporting high levels of unemployment claims.

At least 100,863 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic..

On this West Virginia Morning, the coronavirus has put thousands of West Virginians out of work, but for many navigating the unemployment system has been challenging. We hear a conversation with WorkForce West Virginia, the agency administering unemployment benefits, on how they’re adapting in this unprecedented time. And we hear from one West Virginia teacher on how she is navigating distanced teaching.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how the coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for college graduates as they enter an uncertain job market. We also hear a report from Ohio County as some organizations there have come together to find creative ways to feed students in the area.

Ohio Valley ReSource

Kentucky’s state budget officials told lawmakers Friday that general fund receipts may decline by $495 million next fiscal year. It’s just the latest example of the unprecedented financial hardships ahead for the Ohio Valley’s state and local governments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 38 million Americans have applied for unemployment insurance in the past nine weeks, about 2.5 million of them in the Ohio Valley states of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Even economists find figures like that hard to reckon with.

Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

A new study shows the Ohio Valley has some of the nation’s highest rates of food insecurity among older adults, and anti-hunger advocates say that situation could be made worse by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.


Cattle farmers are seeing increased local demand amid the pandemic.
Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley ReSource

 


Debby Dulworth has a lot of conversations with her cattle each day. She swings open a gate, driving the herd with repeated calls and the Hereford cattle, respond in kind with groans and snorts.

“They talk to me,” Dulworth said with a laugh, as the cows come bounding out into a fresh field of Kentucky fescue and buttercups. She’s been corralling them from pasture to pasture on her farm for decades near Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, nestled in a bend of the Ohio River.

New college graduates will likely have job interviews over video conferencing programs like Zoom or Skype, a trend experts say may continue even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.
Adobe Stock

Unemployment across the nation is at an all-time high with millions of Americans out of work. In West Virginia, more than 160,000 residents have filed for unemployment since mid-March, according to state officials on May 14

This has many new college graduates concerned as they try to navigate a now limited job market. While there may be valuable lessons new grads can learn through the pandemic, it will also be a challenging road ahead for some. 

Another 99,000 Join Unemployed In Ohio Valley As U.S. Jobless Total Tops 38M

May 21, 2020
Courtesy Bytemarks via Creative Commons.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported close to 99,000 additional unemployment insurance claims in the last week from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, as state unemployment offices worked their way through a backlog of millions of claims filed since the coronavirus pandemic forced business closures beginning in March.

On this West Virginia Morning, we check in with the state’s nursing homes coping with the coronavirus pandemic. We also hear an update on how restaurants across the Ohio Valley are approaching reopening measures.

Ohio Valley Making Progress On Unemployment Backlog

May 14, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are making progress on unemployment claims filed in March as states begin a phased-in reopening.

New unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

How Ohio Valley States Are Reopening Their Economies

May 8, 2020
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

This story was updated on May 11, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the Ohio Valley Region. But stay at home orders and social distancing restrictions reduced the number of cases modelers projected without them. 

Now there is pressure to ease the restrictions and open states’ economies back up as the businesses that were closed struggle to find relief and record numbers of people apply for unemployment.

Here is a brief rundown of how West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky plan to reopen businesses.

Ohio Valley Hitting Plateau Of Unemployment Claims

May 7, 2020
Courtesy Bytemarks via Creative Commons.

New unemployment insurance claims are starting to reach a plateau, but are still hitting unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

Stradwick's Fade Cave Facebook Page

Across the U.S., some states, including West Virginia, are beginning to loosen restrictions meant to reduce the spread of coronavirus, allowing for some non-essential businesses to reopen. 

On Monday, May 4, West Virginia entered the second week of Gov. Jim Justice’s six-week reopening plan, “The Comeback.” During week two, businesses with fewer than 10 employees, salons and barber shops, dog grooming services, and outdoor dining restaurants are allowed to reopen. Churches and other places of worship are allowed to conduct funerals and other services with limited gathering sizes. 


Monday marked the first day some businesses across the state could begin to reopen after weeks of being closed because of the coronavirus. But some say they don’t feel ready to open their doors. We explore the tough decisions facing the state’s small businesses.

Corey Knollinger WVPB

At the Rambling Root restaurant in Fairmont, the lights have been dimmed and chairs and tables are stacked in the corner. The bar, usually crowded with locals sipping craft beer, is empty. 

Since the state closed all nonessential business due to COVID-19, sales are down by more than 40 percent, said owner D.J. Cassell. He’s had to lay off 10 of his 12 staffers, and a few have already said they won’t be able to come back.

“It sucks, because I am doing everything I can right now to keep the lights on and the doors open here, but if I don’t get some help then —  if we close down, I don’t know if we’ll ever open back up,” he said. 

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

New unemployment insurance claims in the Ohio Valley began to taper off this week as states make their way through the backlog of applications amid business closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic. But local economies still face a staggering number of unemployed, and many of those who are out of work are still awaiting help.

About 211,000 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

On this West Virginia Morning, business owners share their efforts to get emergency SBA loans during this coronavirus crisis. And Gov. Jim Justice lays out his plans to begin reopening the state.

‘It’s Like the Toilet Paper’: Gun Sales Are Up Across Appalachia. Here’s Why.

Apr 27, 2020
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

The Saturday after millions of Americans received $1,200 economic relief checks from the federal government, Alex Corn decided to open the Verona Gun Safe early. He’s owned the Verona, Pennsylvania, gun shop on the outskirts of Pittsburgh since 2011.

Ohio Valley Still Processing Significant Unemployment Claims

Apr 23, 2020
Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

Nearly 260,000 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in addition to the more than one million unemployment assistance applications people in the Ohio Valley made since mid-March.

Adobe Stock

West Virginians who are self-employed or independent contractors will soon be able to apply for unemployment benefits if they’ve been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

During a virtual press conference Monday hosted by state officials, Scott Adkins, director of WorkForce West Virignia, said beginning on Friday at 10 p.m. workers who would not otherwise be eligible for benefits, including gig workers, freelancers and Uber and Lyft drivers, will also be able to apply for benefits under the CARES Act passed last month by Congress.

Courtesy Tonia Casey

Food banks and pantries across the Ohio Valley are seeing spiked demand as an unprecedented surge of people continue to file for unemployment benefits, with food banks facing weeks long delays to get certain products. Meanwhile, some farmers are facing a financial crisis, sitting on excess food they can’t sell — food that could be directed to food banks and pantries. 

Ohio Valley Continues Unprecedented Surge Of Unemployment

Apr 16, 2020
Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

This story was updated on 04/16/20 at 2:10 p.m.

Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region.

At least 287,576 people in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s in addition to the roughly 755,000 claims form the three states in the previous two weeks.

Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

On March 17, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam banned gatherings of 10 or more people to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Mehyah Davis, 23, was in his second week of a new job waiting tables at the cryptid-inspired Wood Booger Grill in Norton, Va.

“That week, [my boss] cut the schedule,” Davis recounted. “Everybody only had one shift.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says four more counties have been identified as coronavirus hot spots.
 

In a virtual news conference on Friday, April 10, Justice outlined continued response to the virus,  including the identification of more hotspots, grants to cover additional pay for frontline workers and a boost to staff to handle unemployment claims.

Unemployment Claims In Ohio Valley Surge Again, Up Another 355,000

Apr 9, 2020
Courtesy Bytemarks via Creative Commons.

Claims for unemployment insurance once again surged around the Ohio Valley as nearly 355,500 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia sought help last week amid the economic calamity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s in addition to the roughly 400,000 unemployment claims from the three states the previous week.

Hannah Hedrick / Grow Ohio Valley

In this time of crisis West Virginia Public Broadcasting is reaching out to community leaders working on the frontlines to help their towns and regions.

Danny Swan is executive director of the nonprofit Grow Ohio Valley — an organization based in the Northern Panhandle committed to promoting regional food security.

He shared these thoughts on regional food security and ways Grow Ohio Valley is trying to improve individual and community health throughout the upper Ohio Valley and throughout the state.

Pages