Sep 19, 2022 - Business

Ohio is so-so for workers

Best States to Work Index, 2022
Data: Oxfam America; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Ohio leaders love to tout our state as a great place to work but, according to Oxfam, it's not actually so great for a lot of people.

Driving the news: Ohio ranks No. 23 on the anti-poverty nonprofit's annual study of the "Best and Worst States to Work in America."

Why it matters: Much attention is rightfully paid to attracting new companies like Intel and workers to the Buckeye State, but the struggles of low-income workers are often overlooked.

Zoom in: The state's minimum wage of $9.30 per hour is a far cry from the living wage needed to comfortably raise a family of four, per the study.

  • Our minimum wage is higher than the national amount of $7.25, increasing only gradually each year to reflect the rise in cost of living.
  • Ohio was also dinged for lacking guaranteed paid sick leave and preventing employers from asking job candidates their salary history ā€” a policy that suppresses wages.

Yes, but: Our state is also credited with having robust union organizing protections, especially for public employees.

Between the lines: Ohio's median household income last year was $62,262, per the latest U.S. Census data. That's below the national median of $70,784.

  • The state has recovered nearly all the jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic, and many Ohioans have seen pay increases in recent years, Policy Matters Ohio highlighted in its 2022 "State of Working" report.
  • But high inflation has wiped away much of those wage gains, the group noted.

The intrigue: One list our city leads ā€” Columbus has embraced remote work more than any other Ohio metro, according to the Census' latest American Community Survey data.

The big picture: The percentage of Americans who work from home tripled between 2019 and 2021 to 17.9% of all workers ā€” or 27.6 million people.

Data: U.S. Census Bureau. Chart: Tyler Buchanan/Axios
Data: U.S. Census Bureau. Chart: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

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