COLUMBUS, Ohio — After unemployment numbers skyrocketed last spring – the job market appeared to be stabilizing.
But that changed last month, when 140,000 Americans lost their jobs, including Leah Davis of Columbus.
Davis has 14 years of experience in the hospitality and hotel industry, but it’s an industry she doesn’t think she’ll ever work in again.
“We just were losing millions of dollars in business, cancellations and in March we had to go down to a skeleton staff,” Davis said.
She was working on an account connected to the Arnold Classic held every winter in Columbus. But after the pandemic prevented fans from coming last year, she was furloughed in March and let go in June.
“Like millions of other Americans, I was at the mercy of the failing unemployment program.”
Davis was able to find work again in July, only to be released again six months later.
“It was kind of like the end of my career almost. It wasn't just that position but over the months of being unemployed and seeing what was happening, the industry was completely decimated,” she said.
Zach Schiller, a research director at Policy Matters Ohio, said while December was a difficult month for job loss, the hospitality industry has struggled throughout the past 10 of them.
“We lost almost half a million of what we call leisure and hospitality jobs, many of which are restaurants and similar occupations,” Schiller said.
Schiller said he doesn’t see things getting better until infection rates go down.
“It’s just become increasingly obvious that until we get the pandemic under control, we’re not going to have anything resembling a normal economy," he said.