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Ohio unemployment down, but COVID-19 economic recovery slowing

Cuyahoga County with highest unemployment at 12.9%
Posted at 10:41 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 23:18:37-04

CLEVELAND — The latest data from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services shows Cuyahoga County with the highest unemployment rate in the state at 12.9%.

The data also shows while jobs were added statewide in the month of August, more than 510,000 Ohioans are still out of work and Ohio's COVID-19 job recovery is slowing, with 213,000 Ohioans getting back to work in June, 63,000 in July, and 45,500 in August.

Michael Shields, a researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, said better statewide policies are needed.

“We’ve got more people out of work and seeking jobs than we have jobs available for them,” Shields said. “Even more concerning is the fact that the jobs recovery is slowing down. We added fewer jobs this past month than we did in July. Now I think we’re seeing folks out of work because their employers have faced cutbacks. In the recession, I think those jobs are going to be a lot harder to restore.”

Shields said the lack of federal COVID-19 assistance is partly to blame for Ohio's unemployment recovery slowdown.

“That $600 payment that ended on July 25 was supporting 130,000 Ohio jobs. That’s because folks, when they are displaced from work, need the support so they can maintain their consumer spending," Shields said. "It’s really critical that Congress step up and support those who have been displaced from work and also step up with another round of fiscal stimulus.”

Jill Gonzalez, Analyst with WalletHub pointed to its latest reportthat showed Ohio ranked 37th among all states in unemployment recovery.

“Unfortunately there is no overnight success story here,” Gonzalez said. “The biggest hit here was to secondary education—to students not coming, to a big hit to international students not being able to come, not giving their money to the schools across Ohio.

Ohio responded to the unemployment issue, launching its Ohio to Work initiative on Sept. 14 and starting the pilot program in Cuyahoga County, offering employment coaching, training and job placement.