Pandemic hits the economy, workers


Over 100K unemployment applications filed

By Sam Wildow - Miami Valley Sunday News



MIAMI COUNTY — With over 100,000 people filing for unemployment in less than a week and dozens of types of businesses ordered to close until further notice, the local economy and workers are taking a hit this week.

Earlier this week during a special meeting held between the Miami County Commissioners and elected officials, Miami County Auditor Matt Gearhardt explained how the current sales tax collection numbers are based on December’s numbers, so it is likely Miami County will not known until around June how badly the coronavirus pandemic impacted the county’s sales.

“Because of the closure of many businesses, I expect there to be a significant decrease in sales tax revenue here in Miami County because of the pandemic. It will be awhile before we have numbers available to measure the impact on our local economy,” Gearhardt said.

Miami County Commissioner Ted Mercer called on county officials this week to suspend all travel and training, along with all non-essential spending, until the county has weathered through the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is going to be a major impact on our revenue source,” Mercer said. “We’re going to take a major hit on this.”

By Thursday, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it received 111,055 unemployment insurance benefit applications online in the past four days, compared to 3,895 during the same four days last week.

Gov. Mike DeWine added a slew of businesses to the list he ordered to shut down this week, including gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers, bowling alleys, indoor water parks, movie theaters, trampoline parks, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, and spas. Last weekend, DeWine also ordered restaurants and bars to close their dining areas, allowing exceptions for carry-out and delivery orders.

The state is also closing 181 driver’s license bureaus while keeping five open to issue commercial licenses to truckers. DeWine ordered the state highway patrol to stop ticketing drivers for expired licenses and asked other law enforcement agencies to do the same.

DeWine also asked all employers to begin taking employees’ temperature each day and asked they take a “liberal” approach to allowing people to work from home whenever possible. If businesses are not able to test employees’ temperatures, DeWine asked employees self-check before going to work.

Some of the businesses in demand during this pandemic are adding new positions. Amazon announced it would hire 4,600 in Ohio, even as Honda, which has 15,000 Ohio employees and is the state’s largest manufacturer, said it will suspend all North American production beginning next week. Across the U.S., Walmart also has plans to hire 150,000 temporary workers in its stores and distribution centers.

According to WDTN, Meijer in Tipp City is hiring around 100 people for its Tipp City Distribution Center. Meijer is asking for candidates who are 18 or older and who can work any shift to apply for its open distribution center jobs. Applicants can apply at the website https://meijer.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/meijer by searching their zipcode and clicking the job category “Supply Chain/Distribution/Manufacturing.”

Ohioans can apply for unemployment online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It also is possible to file by phone at (877) OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562) or TTY at (888) 642-8203, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those who are losing jobs due to the coronavirus should use the following mass lay-off number when applying for unemployment to speed the processing of unemployment benefits: 2000180.

COVID-19-affected claimants with otherwise valid applications for unemployment will be awarded benefits. While claimants must still meet the weekly requirements that they be able and available for work, the requirement that they actively search for work while receiving benefits has been waived.

This week, DeWine also asked the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to allow businesses and nonprofits to apply for low-interest loans due to the coronavirus’ impact on the economy. On Thursday, DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the U.S. SBA approved their request to allow small businesses and nonprofits in Ohio to apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used by Ohio small business owners and nonprofits to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75 percent.

To keep payments affordable, the loans are long term, with up to 30 years for repayment. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on each borrower’s ability to repay.

Loan applications can be completed online, or applicants can obtain a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955. For more information about the loan program, visit SBA.gov/Disaster.

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Over 100K unemployment applications filed

By Sam Wildow

Miami Valley Sunday News

WDTN and the Associated Press contributed to this story. Reach the writer at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com.

WDTN and the Associated Press contributed to this story. Reach the writer at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com.