What the end of expanded jobless benefits means for Ohio’s economy

Craig Brodhead, a musician, producer, and native of the Cleveland East Side, said the additional financial aid provided through the federal unemployment benefits programs last year was a “godsend”.

“I’ve never made a lot of money, but I’ve done what I love and still made a living,” said Brodhead, 35, who has been touring the country as a guitarist with his band Turkuaz for ten years. “When the pandemic broke out, everything stopped. I had no idea what to do. I had no savings.”

The music industry is one of many that has been devastated by COVID-19 over the past year. For artists like Brodhead, cash flow evaporated when events, tours, festivals and other gigs were canceled.

During this period of uncertainty, Brodhead Unemployment Insurance, which did not get a Paycheck Protection Program loan, did more than make ends meet. With a few hundred dollars more in every check that came in through additional federal unemployment benefits, Brodhead said he was able to pay off debt, fix his car, and fix old touring gear.

However, as Ohio will end its participation in the Extended Unemployment Benefit, the unemployed will provide an additional $ 300 on June 26 – stabilizing its work 10 weeks before the US rescue plan expires on June 6th.

He’s working on organizing gigs, his main source of income, for early fall. But shows remain hard to come by. All bands are fighting for their place in the line-ups. And states differ in terms of their COVID-related restrictions, which affects the ability to plan tours.

Small clubs, he said, offer about half what they would normally pay for. Big shows take months to plan. In many cases this planning has only recently started.

“I’m really not sure how to survive these middle months,” said Brodhead. “I just don’t have a solid job until September.”

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