The Buckeye Institute: Despite Slow Growth in 2019, Ohio’s Job Market Trends in Positive Direction

Jan 24, 2020

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 ended 2019 with 10,400 new private-sector jobs, and the state’s unemployment rate held at near record lows at 4.2 percent. The year also ended with two consecutive months of above-average job growth for the decade, marking a positive trend for Ohio’s job market and one to watch throughout 2020.

“December’s job growth was spread across a number of industries and sectors. Construction recovered some of the losses it experienced in 2019, adding 3,400 jobs—the largest job growth in any sector in December. This growth is critical as employer demand for skilled trade workers is high, and preparing workers for the industry will attract more businesses and workers to Ohio. The professional and tech services sector—which added 2,200 jobs in December—ended the year up 15,500 jobs, the highest growth of any sector in 2019. This growth in professional and tech services illustrates Ohio’s continued shift from its manufacturing roots (down 1,700 jobs in 2019) to a more service-oriented economy. The administrative and support services sector lost 2,200 jobs in December, which was a nationwide trend as automated services and technology replaced executive assistants and other support staff.

“With annual revisions and updates due in March, it remains to be seen how Ohio faired in 2019, yet, job growth continued its long-term trend of lagging below the national average and growth in 2019 was hampered by trade tensions and recession concerns. To reverse this long-term trend, there are reforms policymakers can adopt that will spur job growth. Ohio desperately needs municipal and local tax reform and should eliminate its personal income and commercial activity taxes. Recent changes to job training programs, and the announcement of the Industry Sector Partnership Grant will provide workers the in-demand skills needed to fill thousands of job openings in the state. And enacting universal occupational licensing reciprocity will make Ohio more attractive to employees and employers by making it easier for licensed professionals to continue their careers in Ohio.”

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