The Buckeye Institute: Ohio’s Job Market Weakens in MayJun 21, 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.
“With a jobs report that shows a rise in the unemployment rate to five percent, a sharp decline of 2.4 percent in the labor force participation rate, and a loss of 14,200 private-sector jobs, it is a concerning signal that Ohio’s recovery could be weakening. Next month’s jobs report will tell us if the May report is an anomaly—something we have seen throughout the pandemic—or is the beginning of an alarming trend. Of additional concern is the fact that many Ohio workers have not yet returned to the labor market and many businesses are reporting an inability to fill positions—a situation that has hampered Ohio’s economic recovery.
“In February 2020, Ohio had 4.8 million private-sector jobs and today has 4.5 million, a loss of 300,000 jobs that Ohio needs to recover. Many of these job losses are—as they have been throughout the pandemic—in the leisure and hospitality sector, which is still down almost 100,000 jobs compared to February 2020. Manufacturing (-2,600 jobs) and retail trade (-3,600) both lost jobs in May as higher prices slowed both the production and purchase of goods. Compounding the employment problem is the difficulty employers face filling a record high number of job openings, which Governor Mike DeWine has begun to address by ending Ohio’s participation in the federal bonus unemployment payment plan and reinstating work search requirements. But more must be done.
“To ensure Ohio’s recovery does not stall, or worse reverse, policymakers need to encourage more workers to reenter the job market by keeping the Ohio Senate’s five percent income tax cut proposal in the budget—which studies show will encourage more work. Ohio should also improve its higher education system to help workers who are not college graduates, and were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, gain new skills to help them reenter the job market or obtain better paying jobs.”
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