With the culmination of the 132nd General Assembly drawing near, Advocates for Ohio’s Future (AOF) must draw attention to an important issue in need of further consideration and resolution during the last months of session. Despite earlier attempts this year to reach a compromise, Ohio’s unemployment compensation (UC) system remains weak and underfunded.
The UC system must be broadened and strengthened. Ohio’s work environment has changed, with a shift toward low-wage and temporary jobs, yet the unemployment compensation system fails to offer enough protection to workers in the low-wage labor market. Many low-wage jobs offer so few hours and wages so low that workers fail to meet the eligibility criteria of the state’s stringent system. Today, just 19 percent of Ohio’s jobless workers are receiving unemployment compensation.
Employers pay less into the Ohio system than the national average, and have for nearly 20 years. This was the main factor that caused the state to borrow billions of dollars from the federal government in the last recession and without changes, it will have to again in the next recession. We must act now to create a system of sustainable financing and modernize program rules to reflect the changed nature of Ohio’s economy, before it slips downward.
To read AOF’s full statement and our recommendations to stabilize and modernize Ohio’s unemployment system to protect and support families from downturns in the economy, click here