The recession has been difficult for women, too. Like workers of color, they are overrepresented in the leisure and hospitality industry which lost 30% of its jobs – 170,800 – since June 2019.
Dayton waitresses and waiters made just $9.81 an hour last year – below poverty for a family of three. Many women privileged to work from home are juggling work, child care and virtual in-home schooling, disrupting their long-term career paths.
The situation demands immediate action from our elected leaders. Congress must restore the $600-per-week federal payment to unemployed Ohioans. President Trump’s temporary $300 assistance falls short, will take weeks to set up, and relies on disaster relief funds that will quickly dry up. The federal government should also support the child care industry. Advocates say at least $50 billion is needed.
Those moves will help Ohioans get through the crisis, but ultimately, state and federal leaders will have to unrig the economy to put people, not corporations first.
That means fixing the state’s unemployment system to cover workers making very low wages, raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour, and rebalancing the tax code so it leverages our public resources to benefit everyone, not just the wealthy few. With commitment from our leaders, Ohioans can attain the recovery and future we deserve.
Hannah Halbert is executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, an nonprofit, nonpartisan statewide research institute.