COVID Assessment: The Downtown Slump

As the state opens up, local companies continue to layoff, furlough employeesDavid Holthaus

Cutbacks are coming to a couple of big regional employers as the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy continues. Evendale-based GE Aviation said this week it plans to lay off 605 employees at its headquarters, according to a notice the company filed with the state of Ohio. The notice comes after the company announced in early May that it was “Planning for permanent reductions to our global employee base that we anticipate will bring our total reduction this year to 25% …”

The company said global air traffic is expected to be down 80% in the second quarter and aircraft manufacturers have announced reduced production schedules that extend into 2021 and beyond.

More may be coming as GE Aviation said it is developing $1 billion of cost actions and $2 billion of cash actions in 2020.

Also, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is planning furloughs for 940 of its employees as it deals with a budget deficit related to the pandemic.

This comes after the UC board of trustees approved a furlough policy in April that allows for furloughs related to budget deficits at either the university or at unit levels.

“Even universities like our own that have enjoyed enrollment growth and financial strength and stability are not immune to the pandemic’s consequences,” says Robert F. Ambach, UC’s senior vice president for Administration and Finance.

As of April 2020, the unemployment rate of the Cincinnati-Middletown region in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana was 14.1%, up from 4.4% in March 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May numbers have not yet been announced.