Mind the Gap

- September 19, 2014
   

Ohio job growth flat in August.  Twelve month trend shows Ohio lags the nation in recovery.

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Contact: Hannah Halbert, 614.221.4505
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August jobs data show Ohio continuing to trail national growth

Ohio only added 200 jobs last month, according to data from the monthly survey of employers released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Job growth in Ohio continues to lag behind the national trend. Monthly numbers are always preliminary and subject to revision, making it unwise to make too much of monthly fluctuations.

The modest August growth was in addition to an upward revision of 3,800 jobs to July’s disappointing preliminary number. Unfortunately, the changes still left Ohio with a 0.3 percent 12-month growth rate. Over the same time, the national average was 1.8 percent. Ohio is one of 19 states that did not generate statistically significant job growth over the last twelve months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The Ohio labor market continues to underperform,” said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher with Policy Matters Ohio. “The state should prioritize reducing the cost of higher education, expanding workforce training programs, and enacting policies that support wages, such as a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and raising the minimum wage.”

Today’s report continues a trend of on-and-off, painfully slow job growth. Ohio still needs 125,300 jobs just to recapture what was lost since the recession officially began in December 2007. While the number of jobs in the nation has grown slightly over that time (0.6 percent), Ohio is still down 2.3 percent.

The unemployment rate, based on a separate ODJFS survey of households, held steady at 5.7 percent in August even though the underlying labor market indicators suggested continued softness. The survey, which uses a different sample and definition of employment than the employer survey, showed a slight decrease in employment (2,000). The number of unemployed grew by 1,000 so overall, the labor force shrank by 1,000. Ohio has been troubled by a shrinking labor force, another sign the labor market is far from robust.

“Ohio has generated some job growth through the recovery period, but it’s been slow going,” said Halbert. “Ohio’s recovery continues to slip behind the national pace and we have a long way to go. Ohio needs bold reinvestment in our people to close the jobs gap.”

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Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute

with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

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