Federal Reserve Bank Of Cleveland On Factors Contributing To Labor Shortage

On The Sound of Ideas, we talk to Emily Garr Pacetti with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland about the current labor market. [VeronikaSmirnaya/shutterstock]
On The Sound of Ideas, we talk to Emily Garr Pacetti with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland about the current labor market. [VeronikaSmirnaya/shutterstock]
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On June 26, out of work Ohioans will no longer receive an extra $300 a week from the federal government in unemployment benefits, a bonus which was created during the pandemic. 

Governor DeWine announced back in May that Ohio would be stopping this additional assistance, in part due to the tight labor market. He said that the benefits are, in some cases, discouraging workers from returning to their jobs, which is a sentiment shared by many business groups. 

By waiting to stop assistance until late June, DeWine said it gave time for Ohioans to get vaccinated, in case there were those who are hesitant to go back to work for safety reasons.

But there's also the perspective of workers, who say that we're not in a labor shortage, we're actually in a wage shortage, and that it's incumbent on employers to increase wages and benefits and improve work environments, in order to fill certain jobs. 

Some employers have. When Cedar Point faced a major labor shortage, it made headlines for increasing its starting pay to $20 an hour, double what it had been paying one year ago. The move worked, but now other smaller businesses in the Sandusky area are concerned about the wage competition. 

Other workers point out that the United States has the lowest minimum wage when compared with typical or average wages of any country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 

We've already discussed this workforce shortage a few times recently on The Sound of Ideas, we talked to small business owners, then we talked directly to workers.  

But as the federal unemployment insurance is about to end, we decided to revisit the topic today with the perspective of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

We'll also discuss the Cleveland Fed's virtual policy summit, happening June 23 through June 25, which is discussing pathways to economic resilience in our communities. 

Later this hour, we'll hear from former 11th District of Ohio Congresswoman, and the current U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Marcia Fudge. She'll talk about President Biden's push to get more people vaccinated, by Independence Day. 

Then, the new Brighton Park in Old Brooklyn opens today. We'll learn how this 25-acre greenspace was transformed to a park from an abandoned landfill.

Guests: 

-Emily Garr Pacetti, Vice President and Community Affairs Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
-Marlene Harris-Taylor, Managing Producer of Health, Ideastream Public Media
-Marcia Fudge, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
-Brian Zimmerman, CEO, Cleveland Metroparks
-Matt Zone, Senior Vice President & Director of Thriving Communities, Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Ohio Channel On-Demand Video

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