The Buckeye Institute: COVID-19 Hits Ohio’s Economy Hard, February’s Job Numbers Serve as Baseline for Recovery

Mar 27, 2020

Columbus, OH – Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., an economist with The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center, commented on newly released employment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

“In the few short weeks since the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Ohio, businesses representing more than a third of the state’s economy have been forced to close, unemployment claims have risen to a record high of 187,784, and Governor Mike DeWine has ordered government agencies to cut their budgets by as much as 20 percent to cover expected shortfalls in tax revenues. While the full economic impact of the pandemic remains unknown, it is clear it will be serious and it will be long lasting.

“February’s jobs report—which saw Ohio maintain its near-historic low unemployment rate of 4.1 percent and add 7,400 private sector jobs—now serves as a baseline to mark where Ohio’s economy stood before the onset of this crisis and where we hope to return following the social and economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus. 

“While Ohio’s health care sector is expected to grow during this crisis and some shifts in delivery service sectors will bolster employment, many sectors—including manufacturing; leisure and hospitality; and trade, transportation, and utilities—which make-up nearly half of Ohio’s workforce, have already been hit hard by the current crisis. 

“To ensure Ohioans can weather this storm and provide for families and businesses facing unexpected economic hardship, policymakers must continue to act boldly. In addition to the actions already taken, policymakers should adopt The Buckeye Institute’s recommendations to:

  • Coordinate with the federal government and utilize the federal stimulus package to cover funding for the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, and fix Ohio’s insolvent trust fund to avoid facing this problem in the future; and 
  • Lift and ease occupational licensing restrictions to ensure people can continue to work during these difficult times.

“The path forward is difficult but with these commonsense measures, policymakers can position Ohio’s workers and businesses to survive and recover from this crisis.”

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