The Buckeye Institute: Ohio’s Employment Rate Springs Ahead, While Unemployment Still Above National Average

Mar 09, 2018

Columbus, OH – Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., an economist at the Economic Research Center (ERC) at The Buckeye Institute; and Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the ERC and vice president of policy at Buckeye, commented on newly released employment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“Ohio’s unemployment rate declined from 4.9 percent in December to 4.7 percent in January, continuing a positive economic path for Ohio’s labor market. However, Ohio’s unemployment rate still remains well above the national average of 4.1 percent, indicating there are still obstacles that policymakers need to address to make Ohio a national leader.

“Also concerning is that Ohio’s unemployment rate declined due partially to fewer Ohioans being in the job market as labor force participation dipped below the national average. This signifies some job seekers may have become discouraged and stopped searching for employment.

“Ohio experienced an 8,900 increase in non-farm private employment in January 2018, nearly five times the growth from December 2017 and accounting for more than a third of the number of new jobs since January 2017. Although this is only one month with such large gains, this is an indication that Ohio’s labor market is strengthening and expanding.

“Much of this job growth was in construction, which saw an increase of 2,600 jobs. This bodes well for the industry, which had seen declines in the latter part of 2017, and could be indicative of further development and economic growth. Mining and logging also continued to rebound after years of struggle, growing by 5.5 percent in 2017.

“Overall, Ohio’s labor market continues to trend in the right direction but discouraged workers and decreases in lower-skilled jobs such as manufacturing (-1,400), and leisure and hospitality (-1,700), show there needs to be fewer barriers that prevent people who are seeking to improve their skills through training and licensing from attaining the jobs they desire.”