Ohioans remain optimistic, but less than before pandemic


By Todd DeFeo - The Center Square



(The Center Square) – Even as Ohio’s economy continues to return to some semblance of normalcy, many Buckeye State business leaders remain uncertain about the future.

That’s according to the quarterly Prosperity Pulse from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation (CRF).

More than two-thirds of Prosperity Pulse respondents (69 percent) are optimistic about their company’s future economic health, an increase from the 31 percent who were optimistic during the first quarter. However, that trails the rate reached in 2018 and 2019.

“As Ohio’s economy has slowly churned back to life, the overall economic climate remains uncertain in the eyes of business leaders across the state,” Justin Barnes, executive director of the CRF, said in a news release. “Respondents to our survey have indicated they expect to see continued below-average economic conditions as governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to adapt, while they remain committed to seeing their companies through this difficult period.”

A quarter (25.7 percent) said the economic climate is “poor,” while 28.2 percent said it was “good.” A plurality – 42.6 percent – said it was “fair.”

During a news conference last week, Gov. Mike DeWine said the key to improving confidence is keeping the virus at bay.

“The most important thing we can do is to try to give people confidence, and the way we give people confidence in what’s going on in Ohio is to keep the virus down,” DeWine said during the conference.

“I’m optimistic about our future,” DeWine added. “We’re seeing our unemployment numbers down but obviously, we’re not where we want to be, and we’re going to continue to keep the virus down and let our businesses continue to grow.”

During the same news conference, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted acknowledged a full economic recovery will take some time, but said Ohio is better positioned than many states.

“This is going to be a battle for a while. It’s going to take time for the economy to recover when you come through a pandemic,” Husted said. “The virus isn’t going away anytime soon; the question is, how can we manage it in our lives?

“We’ve found a pretty good balance with it. There are restrictions, but mostly everything’s opened up,” Husted added. “Our employers are doing a great job of keeping the virus down in the workplace. Our unemployment rate is below the national average. We’re planning every day on what we’re going to do once life gets more back to normal.”

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By Todd DeFeo

The Center Square

Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square

Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square