September 18, 2020
September 18, 2020
Recovery requires renewed stimulus
New data released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) show Ohio employers added 45,000 jobs in August.
What it means: “More Ohioans returned to work last month, but jobs recovered at a slower rate than in July, when employers called back 63,300 Ohioans, and substantially slower than in June, when employers called back 213,200 workers - five times as many as they did last month. Meanwhile, policymakers have compounded the hardship by letting vital unemployment benefits expire. Now is the time to rapidly direct supports to help everyone through the crisis and prevent even further job losses from government cuts and reduced consumer spending,” said Policy Matters Ohio researcher Michael Shields.
The numbers: The seasonally adjusted data from ODJFS show Ohio employers added 45,400 jobs in July. According to a survey of employers, jobs rose in each major sector:
Private goods producing jobs (+4,200)
Jobs in the private service sector (+33,500)
Jobs in government (+8,200)
The employer survey showed that the number of Ohioans working fell by 448,700 compared with August 2019.
Only the federal government added jobs (+8,000), due to Census takers.
State (-24,400) and local government cuts (-42,800) compounded private sector losses in goods producing (-55,700) and service sectors (-333,800).
Leisure and hospitality jobs continue to dominate losses (-142,700 annually). Overall, the hard-hit sector regained 4,500 jobs last month, though there was a small decrease in the number of accommodation and food services jobs.
A separate survey of households showed there were 510,000 Ohioans officially unemployed, unchanged from July. Some 94,000 Ohioans returned to the workforce, including re-hired workers and job seekers.
The unemployment rate stood at 8.9%, down from a revised 9.0% in July and compared with 8.4% for the nation.
Rapidly direct stimulus money to give workers an immediate reset: “Congress must immediately restore the $600 weekly federal supplement to unemployment payments. It has been nine weeks since they let it expire, leaving displaced workers struggling to cover basics and compounding job losses. Ohio has started to disburse the $300 weekly stop-gap payment directed by President Trump, but those payments will only be retroactive. Disaster relief money used to fund them has already run out so the program will not continue.
“Data released this week by the Census Bureau show it took a decade for U.S. and Ohio income to rise and poverty rates to fall to levels before the Great Recession. We cannot afford to repeat the austerity measures that prolonged the hardship ordinary people endured while the wealthiest rapidly recovered and then grew their income share. Ohio leaders should demand that Congress immediately restore $600 federal payments to displaced workers, direct stimulus to state and local governments, and provide families with crucial support that lasts for the duration of the recession.
Unrig the economy to restore balance: “Despite creating record wealth before COVID-19 stymied the economy, most workers have not received their share in pay. Median wages fell short of economic growth for decades. Corporations and the wealthiest, with the help of some politicians, have rigged the rules in their favor. Reshaping the Ohio economy as a place where everyone can thrive requires policymakers to restore balance. This should include passing a $15 minimum wage, raising the salary threshold below which workers receive overtime pay, enforcing existing laws to stop employers stealing workers’ wages, and protecting workers against employer union-busting when they seek to organize collective bargaining units. Unionized workers are paid better, and today are kept safer at work in the pandemic, than their counterparts who lack a union.
Last word: “We cannot afford a repeat of austerity policy that prolonged the hardship from the last recession. With the job recovery slowing and half a million Ohioans still out of work, now is the time to tap every available dollar to bolster a rapid recovery that includes everyone.”
1 of 22