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Press Release

How is Ohio’s labor force affected by debt-related driver’s license suspensions?

Debt-related driver’s license suspensions could be keeping a sizable portion of Ohioans from finding and maintaining employment, according to a report by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and Cleveland State University.

In 2020, 1.66 million Ohioans had an active debt-related suspension. If half of them abide by the suspension, then about 830,000 Ohioans would not be able to drive to work, which could prevent them from repaying the debt or being part of the labor force, according to the report’s coauthors, Kyle Fee, policy advisor at the Cleveland Fed, and Brian Mikelbank, associate professor at Cleveland State.

It’s also becoming more common for Ohio job postings to require a driver’s license. In 2022, 14 percent of Ohio job postings requested a driver’s license, up from about 8 percent in 2015.

“Our analysis suggests that these suspensions, especially when combined with increasing driver’s license requirements, make finding and maintaining employment more difficult for a sizable portion of Ohioans, but that instability also affects the broader economy,” Fee and Mikelbank write.

Read the report: Providing Labor Market Context for Debt-Related Driver’s License Suspensions in Ohio

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Chuck Soder,, 216.672.2798