BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Over 3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — that’s five times higher than the previous record. There were layoffs everywhere. One local worker went from success to standstill in under two weeks.
Bryn Speidel is out of work. He said being the print shop manager at Boardman’s Innovation Exhibits was his favorite job.
“We had a really good business going. I really enjoyed my job. This really blindsided everybody. This was out of nowhere.”
Speidel is not alone. Ohio reported 187,780 initial jobless claims last week. The state had only 7,042 just a week before that.
“It’s going to be a big drop in employment in the near term for our state,” said Bill Adams, senior economist at PNC. “It’s going to cause economic hardship.”
Speidel’s job was making items used at trade shows. With no one traveling, that business has fallen apart.
Speidel noticed the state unemployment website crashing but said he’s been approved for unemployment.
“At least in my case, it worked out to 45% of my regular income. So that will keep me from being homeless, it will keep me from starving to death.”
He admitted it isn’t very sustainable, as utilities and other bills still need to be paid.
Unemployment puts an immediate drag on income and spending for people. It comes with a spillover effect.
“That turns into less demand for the whole economy and that’s how a recession spreads,” Adams said.
Speidel hopes this ends soon enough so he can get back to work. He realizes it may not, but knows he wasn’t personally singled out.
“This is everywhere and this is everyone,” he said. “So there’s a feeling we’re all in this together.”