Report: Region’s Recovery of Jobs Lost to Virus Could Take 4 Years

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Northeastern Ohio’s economy is expected to see a slower rate of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic with the region’s share of gross domestic product rebounding in two years, but unemployment will stretch into 2025, according to a new economic report. 

Team NEO, a nonprofit economic development organization representing 18 counties in the region, released “Finding Opportunity in Northeast Ohio’s Economy, COVID-19 Recovery Projections” Monday. 

“The earliest projections at this point on when we may gain all of those jobs back would be somewhere in the 2024-2025 range. I will say that both of these trends are similar to what we have see in past couple of recessions,” said Jacob Duritsky, vice president of strategy and research for Team NEO. “But we haven’t seen the job growth we’d necessarily like to see coming out of the past few recessions. GDP has always led the way.  Over the past 20 years we’ve become a much more productive economy, particularly as it relates to manufacturing.” 

He points to the region’s productivity growth in manufacturing, which has been higher than in other parts of the country. “We’re doing more, we’re just doing it with slightly less people,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic shuttered Ohio’s economy for more than six weeks. Especially hard hit were small businesses, entertainment and travel.

“Unfortunately what we’re projecting declines in every sector of northeast Ohio’s economy. One the sectors which are vital to the economy such as manufacturing now projected to see declines in the 9% to 10% range,” Duritsky said. 

But other strong performing sectors like headquarters, professional services, finance, health care, also are projected to see somewhere in the 2 to 4% decline in GDP.

Team NEO’s report is based on data Moody’s analytics 

“This is their best guess right now, these are subject to change in the next 12 to 18 months, but this helps us in the short term try to understand how our economy is performing,” Duritsky said.

It’s important to note that predictions are based on reopening by June, a second round of federal stimulus and assuming a second surge in COVID-19 infections doesn’t result in a similar shutdown.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.