Saturday stats: Covid-19 updates
Posted April 04, 2020 in eNews
Staggering new jobless numbers: COVID-19 is taking a huge toll on the Ohio economy and the lives of working people and families throughout the state. This week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported that jobless claims reached 272,117 for the week ending March 28, up 84,328 from the prior week’s record high of 187,789. Researcher Michael Shields put it in context for us and has county level data from the previous week.
The digital divide in the age of COVID-19: For many Ohioans, the Coronavirus has turned the internet into a critical lifeline. It’s how we connect to our jobs, our doctors, and family and friends. The more than 1 million Ohioans who lack internet access are at even more of a disadvantage amid the pandemic. In a guest blog, Bill Callahan, the Research and Policy Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, explains why breaking down barriers to broadband is even more important now – and it will take good public policy to do it.
Everyone counts, so count everyone: April 1 was Census Day! “Shelter in place” orders and social distancing have added some challenges to getting a complete count, which is why it’s more important than ever to participate. I had a lot of fun talking with Center for Community Solutions Research Associate Kate Warren and our Outreach Director Daniel Ortiz about the Census – and the creative ways people are getting the word out. Kate and Community Solutions shared a lot of great analysis about the Census on their website. Daniel will talk more about what’s at stake at a League of Women Voters virtual forum tomorrow.
Speaking truth to power: Chris Smalls worked at an Amazon warehouse in New York, until the company fired him after he organized a work stoppage to protest unsafe work conditions. Amazon says it fired Chris because his speaking out broke safety protocol. Chris says it was retaliation. Read his first-hand account in the Guardian.
The news is breaking: Even before COVID-19, the local news industry was struggling – as we documented in our report last year. Friday, the Plain Dealer laid off more journalists, most of whom were doing heroic work to cover the coronavirus crisis. Economic fallout from the pandemic is making the situation worse. On April 16, Research Director Zach Schiller and I will appear on a webinar for the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. We’ll talk about why the local news crisis requires public policy solutions.
Stay in the know: Next Friday at 1 p.m., Advocates for Ohio’s Future’s weekly COVID-19 policy response webinar features our own Zach Schiller. He’ll be joined by experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to discuss COVID-19’s economic impact and the steps taken by the federal and state government to help financially support people with low incomes and those who lost jobs.
Finally, at Policy Matters, we pride ourselves on being nimble in rapidly changing environments. Because of your support, we acted quickly to fight for unemployment compensation that reaches workers who need it most. We elevated the voices of people who are incarcerated. We tracked COVID relief bills – celebrating the good and pushing policymakers to improve the bad. Your support makes this possible. It’s a great time to consider becoming a sustaining policy supporter, with a $20 monthly contribution in honor of our 20 years of fighting for all Ohioans. Our friends at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities will match all new donor contributions this year.