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Week in Review: Dec. 19, 2021

Written on Dec 17, 2021

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

JobsOhio's final board of directors meeting in 2021 saw comments reviewing their "record" year by Board Chairman Bob Smith, along with Gov. Mike DeWine and JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef. The private economic development nonprofit is in its 10th year. Smith said that while the pandemic is ongoing, 2021 has seen the best results ever for new jobs, projects won and payroll created. That only tells part of the story, he added, and they are looking at how to improve in serving Ohioans in all 88 counties. Helping businesses with talent now and in the future is an important effort, and Smith said 2022 could be "very special." DeWine detailed JobsOhio's efforts early in the pandemic to help the state in regard to securing personal protective equipment and manufacturing PPE locally. It also helped assist 15,000 businesses and 300,000 jobs that were most at risk. While other states have needed to scale back their economic development efforts due to financial constraints, Ohio was able to "push forward," he said.

FY22-23 BUDGET

While many Ohio businesses, law enforcement departments and other sectors have been granted American Rescue Plan Act dollars by state government leaders, advocates of human services agencies and the arts industry are feeling left out. "In other states, we are seeing them use important amounts of this money to actually provide for the major human needs that have not been addressed. So we need to make sure that the people who were hit hardest, who are being left behind, are in fact targeted for assistance," Policy Matters Ohio Research Director Zach Schiller said during an Advocates for Ohio's Future press conference on Monday.

CORONAVIRUS

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Bruce Vanderhoff once again implored Ohioans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, or receive a booster if they are eligible, as cases continue to rise in the state. Gov. Mike DeWine also announced Thursday that he and First Lady Fran DeWine were exposed Monday evening to a person who has since tested positive for COVID-19. Both DeWines have no symptoms, and tested negative for the virus Thursday morning. The couple will continue to be tested daily and postpone public events, DeWine said. The state reported 11,803 COVID-19 cases Thursday -- with 1,347 from a backlog -- well surpassing the 7,581 21-day average. In addition, there were 391 new hospitalizations, compared to the 21-day average of 313, and 25 new ICU admissions, compared to the 21-day average of 31.

ELECTIONS 2022

Thanks to congressional redistricting plan SB258 (McColley), there will be two filing deadlines for the Tuesday, May 3 primary election next year. The filing deadline for most offices, including those for the Ohio House and Senate and the statewide constitutional offices on the ballot is Wednesday, Feb. 2. However, due to the elongated process for creating new congressional districts that was passed as part of SB258, the filing deadline for U.S. House candidates to file their paperwork was delayed until Friday, March 4, 2022.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported Thursday it received 9,199 initial unemployment claims last week, Dec. 5-11, fewer than the 9,302 the week before but above the eight-week average of 8,340. Continuing claims of 40,127 marked a decline of 670 from the week prior and was close to the eight-week average of 40,157. For comparison, initial claims in March 2020 were 7,042 the week before statewide COVID restrictions were instituted, and 196,297 a week later.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

The state of Ohio is continuing to experience lower rates of injuries and illnesses than the national average, according to a summary of the FY21 Bureau of Workers' Compensation Division of Safety & Hygiene annual report. "The overall rate of injuries and illnesses in Ohio for all industries -- public and private sectors combined -- was 2.4 cases per 100 full-time workers compared to 2.9 cases nationally. Ohio's rate decreased by 0.2 cases from the previous year," says the report summary, provided to Hannah News by BWC spokesperson Kim Norris following the BWC Board of Directors meeting on Thursday. The full report is not yet complete, Norris said, noting it will likely be presented to the board during its next meeting. However, Ohio's occupational fatalities increased from FY20 to FY21, according to the report summary. There were 106 occupational fatalities in FY21, up from 96 in FY20.

WORKFORCE

Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the launch of the state's updated "Top Jobs List" Monday, which includes both "In-Demand Jobs" and "Critical Jobs." It is developed with input from the business community. The list helps Ohioans "take advantage of employment opportunities and reflects the current workforce needs." The list directs 85 percent of federal job training funds offered through 88 OhioMeansJobs centers, which offer "a variety of services to job seekers including connecting them to job training, practice interview skills and help writing a resume."

This feature was provided by Hannah News Service and selected for you by OSCPA Government Relations staff.