Not quite back in the saddle: February job data show decline, though unemployment falls

- March 21, 2014

New data for February released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services suggest that the state still struggles with slow job growth. In February, the state lost 4,600 jobs from the January number, which was revised downward slightly.  

Monthly numbers are always preliminary and subject to revision, making it unwise to make too much of monthly fluctuations. Taking a longer view, the state still struggles with below-average job growth. Over the last 12 months, jobs have increased by only 1.0 percent, slightly underperforming the nation (1.6 percent). Without accounting for population growth, the state needs to add 138,200 jobs just to make up for the jobs lost in the 2007 recession.

“The annual revision of jobs data released earlier this month showed that we are closer to recovery than the data previously suggested,” said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher with Policy Matters Ohio. “But Ohio is not out of the woods. Our job growth is still far too slow. We’ve underperformed the nation since the tax overhaul in 2005, since the end of the recession, over the past 12-months, and since January 2011.”

A separate survey of households, also released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, showed an improvement in Ohio’s unemployment rate, falling 0.4 percent to 6.5 percent. This marks the first month since June 2013 that the Ohio rate has dipped below the national average.

“It is not uncommon for the two surveys to send mixed signals,” said Halbert. “They use different methods and measures. The unemployment rate is moving in the right direction, but the state is nowhere near a full recovery.” 

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