The Buckeye Institute: Conflicting Signals Continue to Tell the Same Story—Ohio’s Job Growth is Slowing

Oct 18, 2019

Columbus, OH – Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., an economist with The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center, commented on newly released employment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“Ohio’s job market continues to show conflicting signs. While Ohio’s unemployment rate rose to 4.2 percent in September, up from 4.1 percent in August, August’s private sector job growth was revised upwards by 3,200 jobs, with an additional 1,400 net new jobs in September. Although the unemployment increase is a troubling sign for Ohio families who are searching for, but not finding, new jobs, the job growth number reveals that businesses are still hiring and finding the workers they need. However, these conflicting signals continue to tell the same story—Ohio’s job growth is slowing.

“There were some positive signs of growth. With the addition of 1,900 jobs, the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, recouped some of the 4,600 jobs it had lost since December 2018. And the leisure and hospitality sector added 2,400 new jobs, up 10,000 new jobs since December. But the decline in construction and manufacturing sectors continued with the loss of 1,700 and 1,400 jobs, respectively.

“Of concern for next month’s jobs report is the impact of the GM-UAW strike, which this month’s manufacturing sector numbers do not reflect. While there appears to be a tentative deal between GM and the union, reports indicate the deal does not include reopening the Lordstown plant. That, and the still unresolved trade war between the U.S. and China, could lead to further job loss in the manufacturing sector and more economic uncertainty.

“While some of the factors impacting Ohio’s economy are out of state policymakers hands, state lawmakers could have done more to prepare the state for an economic downturn as The Buckeye Institute outlined in its report Sustaining Economic Growth: Tax and Budget Principles for Ohio and in its Piglet Book. However, policymakers can still adopt pro-growth economic policies that lower taxes for all Ohioans, retrain workers for better jobs, and cut wasteful government spending. These policies will promote economic prosperity for all Ohioans and enable Ohio to better weather the next economic storm.”

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