The Buckeye Institute: Ohio’s Unemployment Rate and Job Growth Moving in the Right Direction

Mar 23, 2018

Columbus, OH – Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., an economist at The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center (ERC) commented on newly released employment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“Ohio’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend from 4.7 percent in January to 4.5 percent in February, showing positive trends in the state’s labor market. The report also revealed a relatively unchanged labor force participation rate, which implies that those who were searching for jobs found them. This is good news for job seekers.

“However, Ohio still sits above the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, and with a lower labor force participation rate than the national average. This shows that Ohio still needs further reforms to create and sustain job growth, and one area ripe for reform is occupational licensing.

“Ohio experienced another great job creation month with a 19,600 increase in non-farm private employment in February 2018, more than double the growth from January 2018. This marks consistent gains over the past two months, indicating Ohio’s labor market is continuing to expand. Nearly every sector experienced job growth, with substantial increases in manufacturing (2,900) and health care and social assistance (3,700). Employment in the health care industry will be important to responding to the health needs of an aging population in Ohio. Although there was a decrease in employment in arts, entertainment, and recreation, special interest tax credits for the entertainment industry are not a cost-effective policy solution to increasing growth in this industry.

“Ohio is continuing to see positive job growth path, yet an unchanged labor force participation rate is concerning as it shows some individuals are discouraged from job searching. Occupational licensing reform can reduce those disincentives, and, combined with eliminating special interest tax credits, will help Ohio to reach its goal of being a national leader in job creation.”