The Buckeye Institute: As Spring Comes to Ohio, Slow but Steady Economic Recovery Continues

Mar 26, 2021

Columbus, OH – Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and vice president of policy, commented on newly released employment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

“As Ohio enters the second year of the pandemic, the state’s slow but steady recovery continues with unemployment falling to 5 percent in February 2021, only 0.3 points higher than it was in February of 2020. This good news, however, is tempered by the loss of 8,600 private-sector jobs, which could be a statistical variance, but will be important to watch over the coming months.

“Overall, Ohio is still down 263,800 jobs compared to February of 2020, the last month of pre-pandemic data, and various industries saw job losses in February that are difficult to explain, such as the loss of 8,600 jobs in the health care sector. Gains in leisure and hospitality jobs, which added 4,300 jobs, indicate that hotels are recovering and people are beginning to eat out again. As more Ohioans are vaccinated and the weather improves, we should expect to see continued job growth in the leisure sector. Welcome news to an industry that has suffered so much job loss.

“Although Ohio saw a loss of private-sector jobs, it is important to remember that a single month’s jobs report is too statistically unreliable to draw broad conclusions—the key is to watch for trends in multiple jobs reports. In monitoring the trends in Ohio’s jobs reports, February’s numbers indicate that the state’s slow recovery continues, but the job loss is a number to watch in the coming months.

“Ohio policymakers have taken a number of prudent steps that have helped the state recover from the pandemic and its economic impacts, but the work is not complete. Ohio can accelerate the economic recovery by wisely spending the billions in federal government assistance to aid those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. Policymakers should also implement needed tax reforms that will reduce the tax burden on businesses so they are able to hire more workers. And finally, Ohio should cut wasteful government spending on programs and projects that don’t help the state recover from the pandemic or provide critical state services.”

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