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Week in Review: Feb. 27, 2022

Written on Feb 25, 2022


The scope of federal COVID relief funding and its effects on the economy and people's livelihoods show national leaders learned their lesson from the Great Recession by responding on a greater scale and for longer, according to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). CBPP officials and allies held a media teleconference Thursday to discuss the organization's new analysis of federal pandemic relief efforts, as well as that of Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi. Sharon Parrott, president of CBPP, noted that unemployment skyrocketed north of 14% but then fell about 10 points by year end in 2020, whereas unemployment remained above 9% for two years after the 2008 financial crisis. The drop in the number of people with annual incomes below the poverty line of about eight million thanks to government assistance represented the largest drop on record based on data going back to the late 1960s, she said.


The Columbus Metropolitan Club discussed Ohio's role in the future shape of supply chains and logistics during its Wednesday forum, as well as roots of the current problem. The panelists included Ken Ackerman of the K.B. Ackerman Company, Ohio State University Professor of Logistics Keely Croxton and Columbus Regional Airport Authority Director of Operation and Aviation Business Services Charles Goodwin. It was hosted by Columbus Business First Assistant Managing Editor Eleanor Kennedy. Regarding how this began, Croxton said it includes the pandemic itself, shifting product demands at first that are now increasing across the board above pre-pandemic levels and supply constraints worldwide. The supply chains were designed to be "brittle" in recent decades and couldn't withstand the disruption, she added. Croxton and Goodwin also discussed the effects of workforce shortages on the logistics and manufacturing industries.


The Columbus Metropolitan Club discussed the city's downtown region Wednesday, following nearly two full years of pandemic effects on its businesses and the local economy. Marc Conte, executive director of the Capital Crossroads and Discovery Special Improvement Districts, opened the forum with details from a year-end report released on Monday. The downtown residential population is a "bright spot" as it rose to 11,200 by the end of 2021 and is at levels not seen since the early 1970's, Conte said. It may grow to almost 15,000 by the end of 2024. The apartment occupancy rate also rose to 92%, even as 880 new units came to market. Regarding specific industry sectors, Conte said hospitality data remained "mixed" as traffic begins to rebound but major events hadn't returned in 2021. Several downtown festivals are in store for this year, along with 163 events planned so far for the Greater Columbus Convention Center and more are expected.


Secretary of State Frank LaRose sent a letter to legislative leaders Tuesday evening saying he does not see a scenario in which the Ohio Redistricting Commission can pass new General Assembly and congressional redistricting maps and have those maps go through judicial review "within a timeframe conducive to a May 3, 2022 primary election." LaRose said that "with each passing day, we miss critical legal and administrative deadlines essential to the administration of a successful May 3, 2022, primary election." Tuesday was the deadline for LaRose to certify the form of the official ballot of the primary. The secretary of state said in his letter that based on discussions with Attorney General Dave Yost, he issued a directive for races not affected by redistricting litigation. He said the secretary of state's office and boards of elections can only proceed with districts and data they have available to them, and the boards will still need adequate time to program, proof, and print ballots, as well as conduct logic and accuracy testing to ensure the ballots are correct and can be tabulated accurately.

As noted above, LaRose Tuesday issued a directive that laid out the official form of primary ballots for statewide candidates. The directive does not apply to congressional, Ohio General Assembly and State Central Committee races, as the congressional and legislative maps are still being worked out by the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The secretary of state said no write-in candidates for statewide office were filed for the May 3 primary election.


Home sales in January were just less than 1% higher than figures from a year earlier, according to the Ohio Realtors. Sales of 9,540 houses in January were 0.9% above the 9,451 seen in January 2021. The average price of $228,636, however, was 8.4% higher than the $210,845 seen in January 2021.


Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that 16,571 new businesses were created in the first month of 2022. This is a 32% increase from December (12,516), and higher than January 2021. LaRose said it serves as a remarkable start to the new year for new Ohio businesses. In 2021, 197,010 new businesses formed in Ohio, breaking 2020's record numbers by more than 25,000 filings.


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported that initial unemployment benefit filings increased by about half last week, rising to 15,109 the week of Feb. 6-12 versus 9,719 the week prior.

That also represents an increase over the eight-week average of 13,434. Initial claims had been above 15,000 for the weeks ending Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, before dropping to around 10,000 the weeks ending Jan. 29 and Feb. 5. Continuing claims of 59,673 were also above the average of 55,772 for the past eight weeks, but not far off recent weeks' reports, including two in the past month with 60,000-plus.

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

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