The Buckeye Institute: COVID-19 Pandemic Devastates Ohio’s Workforce

May 22, 2020

Columbus, OH – Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and vice president of policy, commented on newly released employment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

“In the first jobs report after Ohio shutdown due to the coronavirus, the state’s unemployment rate skyrocketed—as expected—from 5.8 percent in March to 16.8 percent in April, with the number of employed workers dropping by 823,700, the sharpest decline ever recorded. And while Ohio’s economy is reopening, May’s jobs report is likely to be worse as weekly unemployment claims continue to increase. 

“Every single sector of Ohio’s economy lost jobs in April, with the private sector losing 781,700 jobs while the government lost 42,000. Most of Ohio’s job losses came in the service sector with the leisure and hospitality industry losing more than 263,000 jobs. 

“Although the jobs report does not reflect the thousands of Ohioans who left the workforce voluntarily due to the coronavirus, the picture of the economic harm caused by the virus has become clearer. While some of these layoffs are temporary, policymakers need to act swiftly to help workers and businesses. To aid the recovery, Ohio should adopt policies that will protect public health, jumpstart Ohio’s dormant economy, balance Ohio’s budget, and prepare Ohio for tomorrow. Included among Buckeye’s recommendations are making access to telehealth permanent, deferring payment of the commercial activities tax, and protecting businesses and workers from COVID-19 related lawsuits.”

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