Posted September 02, 2023 in eNews
SPECIAL SOWO EDITION!
Policy Matters is celebrating Labor Day with the release of the State of Working Ohio, our annual report on work, wages and the labor force. (Around the office we call it “SOWO.”)
On Monday morning, SOWO goes live on policymattersohio.org — but we’re giving Saturday Stats subscribers early access with this private link. Here are some of the key findings to whet your appetite:
0.5 to 1: Ratio of job-seekers to jobs in Ohio in May of this year. In other words, there were twice as many openings as there were people looking for work. That’s what economists like SOWO lead author Michael Shields call a “tight labor market.” He describes it as “the kind of labor market Ohio needs right now” — because it gives Ohio workers more and better options, after decades of corporations pushing down wages.
4 of 11: Number of metro areas in Ohio that have regained the number of jobs lost to COVID. While statewide the labor market looks good for working people, the jobs recovery is concentrated in just a few areas: Columbus, Cincinnati, Springfield and Dayton. That means policymakers still have plenty of work to do to expand and extend the recovery, with a focus on equity. Lucky for them, SOWO contains quite a few recommendations for doing so.
$21.51: Ohio’s median hourly wage in 2022. (The median wage is what’s paid to the worker at the middle of the wage scale: Half the workers in Ohio made more per hour, and half made less.) That’s lower than the national median by $1.37. Ohio’s median wage has been lower than the U.S. median for decades — but back in 1979 it was $1.78 higher. A lot has changed in that time, including major drops in union membership, which hurt workers’ ability to bargain for higher wages.
4%: Percent change in Ohio’s median wage between 1979 and 2021. During that same timespan, per-worker Gross Domestic Product (the average amount of monetary value created by each Ohio worker) increased by a whopping 76%. In other words, Ohioans are more productive than ever, but take home very little of the enormous amount of new wealth they help create. That’s a big part of why being good at your job doesn’t necessarily mean making a good living.
40,150: Number of jobs lost for fast food & counter workers in Ohio since 2019. We also lost 16,660 waiters & waitresses. Both groups are paid less than $11.50 an hour at the median. As Mike puts it in SOWO: “Paying all working people a livable wage is not only a moral imperative, it is becoming increasingly necessary if firms want to hire all the staff they need.”
Get a sneak peek at State of Working Ohio 2023: Working people gaining ground.
Read up on the possible federal rule change that could alter the child care landscape in Ohio, in new brief from project director Will Petrik.
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