Coronavirus: Head of JobsOhio talks economic recovery to Springfield leaders

J. P. Nauseef, the president of JobsOhio, spoke with the Springfield Rotary on Monday about statewide efforts designed to help Ohio recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic.
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J. P. Nauseef, the president of JobsOhio, spoke with the Springfield Rotary on Monday about statewide efforts designed to help Ohio recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of Ohio’s private nonprofit economic development agency spoke to Springfield leaders Monday about the state’s current economic position as they seek a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

J. P. Nauseef, the president of JobsOhio, shared what his agency as well as state officials are working on in order to help aid in Ohio’s recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

That includes a larger focus on Ohio workers, economic diversification, more job training and making sure economic recovery is inclusive for all Ohioans.

Mike McDorman, the president and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said those efforts have an impact locally and that his organization has followed those strategies closely.

“We have a great relationship with the head of our workforce development program. That relationship bodes well for us as we seek to move our community forward,” he said.

Nauseef said during the virtual meeting with the Springfield Rotary Club on Monday that the state is currently first in having the fastest recovery so far in the Midwest and is ranked 10th nationally in having the fastest return to pre-pandemic conditions.

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He said the current national efforts on reshoring secure supply chains aligns with the state’s diverse industry and workforce. He also pointed out that Ohio had the third largest manufacturing workforce in the country and represented nearly 5% of the nation’s manufacturing output.

In addition, Nauseef stated that the unemployment rate statewide has dropped significantly since peaking in April, during the height of a statewide stay-at-home order implemented during the coronavirus pandemic. That number went from 5.8% to an historic high of 17.6% between March and April before dropping to 8.4% in September.

The stay-at-home order was enacted in March that called for businesses that were not deemed essential to close their doors. The order was designed to help curb the spread of the virus.

Those businesses that remained open had to alter their operations. Others that were deemed essential chose to close their doors anyway due to a loss in customers or issues with supply chains.

Ohio began reopening portions of its economy in May and by July, some businesses that were previously shuttered had reopen. However, the financial impacts are still being felt by some residents and businesses.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, about 472,000 workers were reported as unemployed last month, a decrease from August but still significantly higher than what was reported during the same period last year.

Nauseef said on Monday that several factors have played well in Ohio’s favor during the pandemic. Those include the state’s rainy-day fund balance before the pandemic as well as the state’s bond rating and an increase in gross domestic product growth.

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Nauseef also mentioned that JobsOhio has worked on 10 new initiatives geared towards small and mid-sized businesses and their workforce since the beginning of the pandemic. The agency has also worked on efforts to supply as many as 40 million units of personal protection equipment.

He said that current efforts on a statewide level that are focused on economic recovery will have a trickle down effect on Clark County.

Since 2011, the county has seen 23 economic development projects, the creation of about 3,700 new jobs in the area and the generation of about $149 million in new payroll.

Nauseef said that the state is focusing on initiatives that will get more Ohioans back to work, including a collaboration titled “Ohio to Work." It aims to help job seekers get retrained and allow for them to re-enter the the workforce with a different career.

By the numbers:

23 - Number of economic development projects in Clark County since 2011

3.7K - Number of new jobs created in the area since 2011

8.4% - Unemployment rate in Ohio in September

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