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Ohio’s economy among hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic

The study compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
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COLUMBUS — It didn’t take long for coronavirus to impact economies across the country. But it may take longer for some states, especially Ohio, to recover economically.

According to a new study released by personal finance website WalletHub, Ohio’s economy is the state hit fourth most by the COVID-19 pandemic. The study compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia over what it called 13 key metrics, including percentage of employment from small businesses to percentage of workers with access to paid sick leave and increases in unemployment insurance claims.

“The U.S. is still struggling to recover from the unemployment caused by business closures, too,” wrote Adam McCann, WalletHub financial writer. “While the federal government has helped mitigate some of this damage through multiple rounds of business loans, direct stimulus payments to individuals and increased unemployment benefits, it will take a long time for state economies to fully recover.”

For Ohio, it may take longer than others.

The state ranked in the top half of the country in terms of having industries most affected by the pandemic, coming in 21st, but in terms of employees in those industries, it ranked 36th.

Ohio ranked 16th when resources for businesses to cope with the crisis are compared.

The Buckeye State also is next to last in recovery for unemployment claims, 10th in the percentage of workers working from home, last in the percentage of workers with access to sick leave and average in terms of the state rainy day fund as a share of state expenditures.

“Ohio’s economy is the fourth-most exposed to coronavirus. The state still has a lot of unemployment claims and registered a decrease in overall consumer spending of almost 12 percent since the beginning of last year,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said. “In terms of the resources that businesses have to cope with the crisis, the report found that only 4 percent of employees are working from home – among the fewest in the country — and the state doesn’t have a paid sick leave law.”

Louisiana ranked as the state most exposed economically to coronavirus, followed by Oklahoma and Hawaii. Nevada followed Ohio in fifth. The least exposed state is Washington, followed by Arizona, Oregon, Utah and the District of Columbia.