Job-growth seesaw continues as Ohio trails nation

- January 24, 2014
   

Ohio still trails its 2013 job growth peak set in May by more than 13,000 jobs despite a slight growth of 5,000 jobs in December, according to data from a survey of employers released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Monthly numbers are always preliminary and subject to revision, making it unwise to make too much of monthly fluctuations. Further revisions are expected with the upcoming annual benchmarking. Longer-term trends suggest that the state is struggling to recover from the recession. The nation’s 12-month growth rate, a modest 1.6 percent, is more than triple the Ohio rate of 0.5 percent.

“The state saw big gains and big losses in early 2013, and while the size of the monthly fluctuations has shrunk, the overall pattern has remained the same,” said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher for Policy Matters Ohio. “We are on a job growth seesaw, producing weak growth. It’s not the upward trajectory that Ohio workers so desperately need.”

Over the year, Ohio added a total 25,600 jobs, not a healthy growth rate. During the 1980s and 1990s economic recoveries, Ohio often gained close to 100,000 jobs a year.

Annual losses of public jobs (-9,500) offset some of the growth in goods-producing (5,200) and service-providing (29,900) sectors. Local public jobs (-7,800) lost more than any other job type.

“These losses are slowing down the state’s recovery,” said Halbert. “Cutting taxes and reducing funding for essential programs and services is not producing the promised economic growth.”

Ohio’s unemployment report showed modest improvement in December. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.2 percent, according to data from a separate survey of households also released by ODJFS. In another positive sign, Ohio’s labor force grew. We have long raised concerns about our declining labor force, so this is particularly welcome. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent. 

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