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Adjusting to change

Anyone who has driven through our communities can tell you there are plenty of “Now Hiring” signs in front of businesses seeking qualified applicants for open positions. But even with that evidence of available jobs, a Policy Matters Ohio report confirms there are fewer jobs in Ohio now than before the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to the report, as of July there were 239,000 fewer jobs in the Buckeye State.

“A lot of people are still really struggling in Ohio and policy makers need to keep their eye on that,” said Michael Shields, a researcher with the nonprofit research institute.

The research showed the pandemic created challenges that prevent people — particularly women — from working.

“That’s in part because they were especially concentrated in the industries that laid off a lot of folks but also a lot of women have had to step back from the workforce to take on more caregiving responsibilities,” according to Shields.

Meanwhile, the latest numbers available, as of July 31, showed more than 85,000 Ohioans still receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and more than 200,000 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (though that assistance has since expired.)

For many employers that had to make changes to survive the pandemic, jobs that were cut may never come back. The employment landscape in Ohio may never return to what it was before the spring of 2020. Policy makers — and educators, counselors and parents — will have to adjust accordingly.

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