The Buckeye Institute: Ohio Continues Slow Recovery from Pandemic Job Loss

Mar 12, 2021

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

“As Ohio and the country mark the one year anniversary of the pandemic, Ohio’s labor market continues its slow recovery, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent, the labor force participation rate increasing to 62.3 percent, and the private-sector adding 22,800 new jobs. Ohio also outperformed the national numbers in January, which has an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent and a labor participation rate 0f 61.4 percent.

“These monthly improvements, however, mask how bad the past year has been for Ohio. Every sector of the economy lost jobs compared to January and February of 2020, and Ohio is still down 260,600 private-sector jobs—214,100 of those from the hard-hit service sector. While Ohio still has a ways to go to recover completely from the pandemic, and many workers have been unemployed for nearly a year, it is worth noting that Ohio has recovered nearly three-quarters of its lost jobs from April 2020 when job losses exceeded 800,000.

“With such a slow recovery and so many Ohioans unemployed for such an extended period of time, it is critical for lawmakers to focus on implementing policies that will help businesses recover so they are able to hire more workers and policies that will help the long-term unemployed gain skills so they are able to find work. Lawmakers can do this by prudently spending COVID relief aid in ways that provide targeted assistance to businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, eliminating regulations that make it harder for Ohioans to start new careers, and expanding programs that help workers gain marketable skills so they can more easily find work.”

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