Ohio Unemployed Workers Need More Help From Policy Makers Says Report

The coronavirus pandemic altered the workforce for Ohio, and for the nation.  [Policy Matters Ohio]
The coronavirus pandemic altered the workforce for Ohio, and for the nation. [Policy Matters Ohio]
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The coronavirus pandemic has now moved past the six-month mark and as much as it is a public health emergency the pandemic has also created an economic crisis for many workers.

Ohio workers are hurting with  many struggling to make ends meet after the pandemic and public orders issued to contain it have left many out of work.  While some jobs have returned, researchers say it appears the climb back out of the economic crisis will not be a quick-fix even as Ohio's economy is largely reopened.

Every year, Policy Matters Ohio, a non-profit research institute, takes a look at the status of labor in Ohio.  This year's annual report, The State of Working Ohio 2020 incorporates recent figures to provide a picture of what Ohio workers are up against as they navigate the current health emergency.

Policy Matters Ohio, Executive Director, Hannah Halbert says about half of the workers displaced by pandemic public health orders remain out of work.  The report advocates for more help from policy makers to help unemployed workers saying: "Working people urgently need protection against the spread of COVID-19. Those displaced from work need adequate and sustained income replacement.  Congress must act. Only the federal government can provide the scope of resources this moment demands. . Workers and families need those resources, as do state and local governments."

The report also  found that women bear a greater brunt of the pandemic's impact as they are most likely to have to juggle both work and childcare responsibilities, including managing remote learning for their children.

Khadijah Fair, a Cleveland mom knows exactly what that balancing act has been like, but it hasn't disuaded this self-described "mom-preneur.

This summer she released "Oh Khalil and the Color Block Bandit",  featuring her 4 year old son Khalil.

Recently Fair sat down with Ideastream's Jenny Hamel to discuss how she has managed multiple roles during the pandemic including pursuing her goal of writing a children's book.

 Also in the report, the leisure and hospitality sector of the economy suffered among the biggest economic losses as public health orders shut down restaurants for weeks and curtailed travel and tourism.

Last month, a poll from the Ohio Restaurant Association determined that 80% of restaurants do not expect to break even this year.  Furthermore, the poll found that 44% of restaurants may be forced to close within nine months if they continue to operate at their current capacity.

When Superior Pho in Cleveland's Asiatown neighborhood reopened after being closed for 10 weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, its costs went up, sales went down and employees left because they couldn't earn enough on their declining tips. Ideastream's summer intern Isaiah Paik  worked at Superior Pho in high school and now college. In this installment of our series Postcards From the Pandemic, the restaurant's owner tells Isaiah about the challenges of continuing to run his business.

Our audio postcard was produced by ideastream's Isaiah Paik and Annie Wu. To see pictures of Superior Pho, go to our website, ideastream dot org slash postcards.


For More Information:

Policy Matters Ohio: State of Working Ohio 2020 Report

  • Hannah Halbert, Executive Director, Policy Matters Ohio
  • Khadijah Fair, Author, "Oh Khalil and the Color Block Bandit"
  • Mahn Nguyen, Owner, Superior Pho

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