Ohio adds more than 12K jobs in February
Posted March 18, 2016 in Selected Press
Ohio’s monthly unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent in February as employers statewide added an estimated 12,400 jobs to non-farm payrolls, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported Friday.
The job gains in February were up substantially from the previous month when Ohio added just 100 jobs, and the unemployment rate inched up to 4.9 percent from 4.8 percent in December.
The February unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 5.1 percent in February 2015, as the number of unemployed workers fell by 6,000 in the past 12 months.
Nationwide, payroll employment rose by 242,000 last month, and the monthly unemployment rate remained unchanged at the same rate as Ohio’s 4.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In Ohio, the increases in employment were led by gains in trade, transportation, and utilities (up 5,800), educational and health services (4,300), and financial activities (3,900). The gains offset loses in manufacturing (down 2,300), and leisure and hospitality (2,200), according to Friday’s report.
The labor-force participation rate — the share of Ohioans over the age of 16 who are either working or looking for a job — also spiked in February.
A total of 34,000 Ohioans entered the labor force last month. Of those, 28,000 got jobs, while 6,000 are still looking and thus counted as unemployed.
“The February jobs report has great news for Ohio as thousands of people entered the labor force and found jobs,” said Rea Hederman Jr., executive vice president of The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Research.
Ohio’s labor force participation rate in February — 62.9 percent — is now comparable to the U.S. rate, Hederman noted.
Still, the rate of job growth in Ohio still trails the national average, and the state has just barely recovered the number of jobs it had in December 2007, when the Great Recession began, according to Hannah Halbert, a researcher with Policy Matters Ohio.
The state’s growth rate trails the nation’s when measured over the past 12 months, 1.5 percent to 1.9 percent, according to Halbert, who also noted Ohio’s February job gains are largely the result of a downward revision to the January number.
“Taken together, January and February (employment figures) did little to move Ohio ahead,” she said. “Ohio’s job market has improved since the recession ended, but our gains are below average.”
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