Ohio Requests $550 Million in Federal Help for Jobless Fund

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Ohio has asked the federal government for $550 million to help shore up a state unemployment compensation fund hit hard by the shrinking economy.

The letter sent Friday to U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao asks for $50 million in December, and $250 million in both January and February.

The state’s unemployment benefits fund is facing a spike in claims at the same time it’s seeing a drop in revenue collected through taxes on businesses.

The fund currently holds about $277 million, down from $594 mllion a year ago and far below what the state regards as the minimum safe level of $2.5 billion.

The federal money would need to be repaid by a certain date or the state would face high interest rates. Ohio is asking for easier repayment terms.

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