The Buckeye Institute: Disappointing December Jobs Numbers in an Otherwise Impressive Year

Jan 18, 2019

Columbus, Ohio – 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.

“December was a disappointing job growth month for Ohio in an otherwise impressive year. The private sector lost 500 jobs in December, with a large decline in the retail sector (4,300 lost jobs), even during the Christmas season. This is on top of an unchanged labor force participation rate and a flat unemployment rate from November.

“Despite its poor performance, the private sector saw the addition of 104,800 new jobs in 2018—the third largest in the past three decades. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector grew by 22,600 jobs over the year, and education and health services sector grew by 21,500 jobs by the end of 2018. Yet, not every sector experienced the same level of growth in 2018. The information services sector lost 2,200 jobs and the financial activities sector saw only small growth with 1,200 new jobs.

“Of continuing concern is Ohio’s labor force. The unemployment rate only fell slightly this year from 4.9 percent to 4.6 percent, while the labor force actually shrunk. This comes after United Van Lines released their annual report, which found more Ohioans had moved out of the state than moved into the state. If families are unable to find work and leave the state in search of better opportunities, it draws into question whether Ohio can sustain its job growth numbers.

“While 2018 was one of Ohio’s best job growth years, policymakers must address the state’s labor force problem and ensure that the new budget strengthens the pro-growth economic policies begun under the last administration.”

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