CLEVELAND — More than two years after the coronavirus pandemic shook the world and Northeast Ohio, the light at the end of the tunnel is near for businesses such as Market Garden Brewery.
Sam McNulty, owner of Market Garden Brewery, has noticed an “uptick in business” since things have calmed down regarding COVID-19.
“Since the pandemic has gradually subsided, we’ve seen a strong uptick in business. And we’re seeing business volume really take off tremendously,” he said.
According to the Policy Matters’ annual State of Working Ohio report that was released Sunday, Ohio has recovered jobs that were lost.
“Ohio has recovered about 85% of the jobs that we lost to COVID-19,” said Michael Shields, with Policy Matters Ohio. “We’re still missing about 129,000 jobs. But this is really good progress.”
Even with things taking a turn for the better, challenges are still on the table for businesses to tackle.
“So staffing is still a challenge,” said McNulty. “It’s getting better and better by the week, but we’re certainly not back to 2019 levels. We’re still just five days a week. So we’ve really been shoehorning in all our business into just those five days.”
Between staffing and inflation, state leaders are being pushed to address many of the obstacles that have been presented since the pandemic began.
One of those obstacles includes the minimum wage.
“Passing a $15 minimum wage in Ohio would be a tremendous positive step in that direction,” said Shields. “I looked at how a minimum wage of $15 an hour phased in by year 2026 would benefit Ohians. I found that 1.56 million Ohioans would get a raise if we were to raise our Ohio minimum wage to $15 an hour.”
But for McNulty, the return to work speaks more to those around him, such as the community. It brings a blue collar attitude and edge the City of Cleveland is known for.
“I think working a happy job is a very important part of like having a meaningful existence. And if you take that out of the equation, most of us don’t do well,” said McNulty.
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