Providing Labor Market Context For Debt-Related Driver’s License Suspensions In Ohio


If half of Ohio drivers comply with debt-related suspensions, over 830K Ohioans—14.4 percent of the labor force–could be at risk of leaving the labor force.

Debt-related suspensions (DRS) are the most common reason for driver’s license suspension in Ohio. As the need for a valid driver’s license increases as a condition of employment across all sectors, DRS is likely to affect the economy. This report investigates whether DRS has implications for Ohio’s labor force. The authors examine how often employers request a valid driver’s license in online job postings and create hypothetical situations on the impact of the labor force if drivers comply with DRS. They found that the number of job ads requesting a driver’s license in Ohio is higher than the national average, and DRS can potentially remove a large pool of individuals from the labor force. They also found that DRS may be more problematic for middle- and lower-wage occupations and those who live away from the metropolitan core.

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Key Findings:

  • In 2020, 28.9 percent of Ohio’s labor force were at risk of receiving a DRS.
  • If half of the DRS holders left the workforce, the median zip code area would lose over nine percent of its labor force, while some would lose more than 65 percent.
  • 14 percent of Ohio’s job ads requested a driver’s license compared to 10.6 percent nationally.
  • 20 percent of job postings for Ohio’s industrial sectors requested a driver’s license.
  • Lower and middle-wage occupations have the highest rates of job ads requesting a driver’s license:
    •  Only 10.9 percent of jobs paying more than $79,400 request a driver’s license, whereas 25.9 percent of those paying $48,000-$60,000 requested one.
  • Non-metropolitan Ohio, which is more auto-dependent, has some of the highest number of jobs requiring a driver’s license.
Kyle Fee and Brian Mikelbank
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland