The Buckeye Institute: Ohio Labor Market Springs Forward in March

Apr 16, 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

“At this point last year, Ohioans knew that the impacts of the pandemic would be severe as the state faced a government ordered shutdown of many areas of the economy, but the full impact of the shutdown was not yet apparent. Now, one year later, Ohio’s economy continues to recover with the unemployment rate falling to 4.7 percent and a labor participation rate holding steady at 62.1 percent. Ohio’s labor market is now notably better than the national average, which has a higher unemployment rate of six percent and a lower labor force participation rate of 61.5 percent. 

“In another positive sign, the private sector added 11,600 jobs in March, and the numbers for February were revised and now show that Ohio lost 2,100 jobs, not the 8,400 originally reported. Despite the good news, the March numbers show Ohio is still down 243,200 jobs compared to March 2020, and they show that some sectors of the economy—particularly the leisure and hospitality sector, which is still down 68,900 jobs compared to March 2020—continue to struggle. Over the past month, the manufacturing sector added 2,200 jobs, but is still down 33,000 compared to last year. Construction added 2,900 jobs and is close to erasing the 3,000 jobs lost since March 2020. As schools reopened and kids headed back to the classroom, the educational services sector added 4,800 new jobs. The transportation, warehousing and utilities sector continued to benefit from the shift to online shopping, adding 1,500 jobs. However, the shift to online shopping continued to hit the retail trade sector hard, which lost 1,400 jobs.    

“The March jobs report is reassuring, however, Ohio has a ways to go to fully recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. As the General Assembly continues its work on the budget, lawmakers can boost economic growth and increase job opportunities by keeping taxes low so businesses can expand and hire new workers, targeting investment in broadband infrastructure, and by working with community colleges to help workers gain the skills they need to get good paying jobs.”

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