The fund that pays benefits to unemployed workers in Ohio is more than a billion dollars in debt to the federal government, but there may be a fix in the works.
Most states borrowed from the feds to pay jobless benefits during the recession. Zach Schiller at the think tank Policy Matters Ohio has been studying this for years, and recently put out another warning about it.
“While we’ve reduced it somewhat, the natural financing of the unemployment system is not going to be enough to repay that debt, much less build a new reserve for the next recession.”
Ohio’s unemployment rate ticked down to just 5.3 percent in October, which is as low as it’s been for years, and the Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area (Dayton MSA, including Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble Counties) saw an even lower rate of 4.7 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
This Labor Day, there are a record low number of Ohioans in the labor force—fewer than there have been since October 1978. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports just 59 percent of Americans 16 and over have declared that they are part of the labor force; in Ohio, that figure is just under 63 percent, a 34-year low. That’s not the only thing that has the progressives at Policy Matters Ohio worried. Amy Hanauer says the group’s annual Labor Day report also shows the state lost more than 2.3 percent of its jobs since 2005, while the country added 3.8 percent in that same period.
State and national jobless numbers are closely watched as economic indicators, and the unemployment figures can also give useful clues for those seeking their first full-time job.
Last month, 323,000 Ohio adults were actively seeking work and not able to find a job, and the unemployment rate crept up for the first time in several months. The figure includes recent high school and college graduates looking for that first job, or an entry level job.
Thousands of civilian workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are being offered the option to retire early or take a buyout. The buyouts are an effort to prepare for a cut of 372 positions at the base this fall.
Many of the positions to be cut aren’t currently filled, and by offering early retirement and buyout options, Wright-Patt officials hope to move those who stay into open jobs elsewhere on the base.
“We just want to make sure that we take care of our people, that’s our key objective,” says Wright-Patt spokesman Daryl Mayer.