Jobless hammer hits hard in Ohio

Akron Beacon Journal - September 1, 2003

State ranks third in job losses from recession, having lost 185,000

Akron Beacon Journal

CLEVELAND – Ohio workers have been among the nation’s hardest hit during the most recent recession, according to a work force report released Sunday by Policy Matters Ohio, a research institute in Cleveland.
Ohio’s unemployment rate, which includes people not working but actively seeking jobs, swelled to an annual average of 5.7 percent in 2002 from 4.1 percent in 2000.

It climbed to 6.2 percent in July.

“In terms of job loss, this recession has been worse for the nation than the one that began in July 1990, but it has been significantly worse for Ohio,” the study found.

Ohio lost 185,000 jobs during the recession from 2001 through last March.

The report, The State of Working Ohio 2003, also said output, a reflection of economic health, fell faster in Ohio than in 43 other states.

In the two years after the latest recession began, Ohio’s payroll employment declined, as a percentage, more than that of all but six states.

The study, released over the weekend, comes at the same time President Bush visits Ohio to give his Labor Day address. The president plans to attend an International Union of Operating Engineers picnic in Richfield at about 11 a.m. today.

The study says that in terms of the numbers of jobs lost, “Ohio hemorrhaged 185,000 jobs between 2000 and 2002,” said Amy Hanauer, Policy Matters’ executive director and a report co-author. “Only California and New York have lost more jobs.”

Almost two-thirds of those jobs were in manufacturing, the study said.

Last year, about 35 percent of workers who drew unemployment benefits exhausted them before they found work. That was the highest proportion of out-of-work Ohioans to deplete their benefits in almost 20 years, the report said.

Despite the recession, wages in Ohio didn’t lose ground, according to the report.

“The good news about the economic downturn is that it has not resulted in dramatic wage decline, and for some workers, wages have continued to rise modestly,” the report said.

The group focused on employment and wage data from March 2001, when the most recent recession officially began, through March 2003.

Between the start of the most recent recession and March 2002, payroll employment — the number of people in part-time or full-time work except those who are self-employed — declined by 3.3 percent in Ohio, and by 1.8 percent in the nation.

By comparison, two years after the 1990-91 recession started, payroll employment had fallen by less than 1 percent in Ohio and the nation.

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