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Policy Matters Ohio

October jobs report: Revisions cut into gains

November 17, 2017

October jobs report: Revisions cut into gains

November 17, 2017

New data released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) confirm that Ohio’s big job gain in September was a blip. Data revisions erased all but 100 of the 10,500 new jobs the state had reported that month. In October, the state added a very modest 4,300 jobs, primarily from growth in public sector jobs (+3,300). On average, Ohio has added just 4,720 jobs per month in 2017.

“This revision reinforces the importance of focusing on trends and not month-to-month changes,” said Hannah Halbert, researcher with Policy Matters Ohio. “The monthly data is always subject to revision. Job growth in Ohio continues to underperform the nation and working people pay for that slack.”

Despite weak job and wage growth, some have claimed that there are lots of well-paying jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree going unfilled because Ohio workers lack skills. But a new report from the Georgetown University Center of Education and the Workforce looked at this issue and found that Ohio and other states with significant blue-collar job losses also had weak growth in jobs for workers without a four-year degree. Between 1991 and 2015, Ohio had a net loss of these jobs (-183,000). The report also found that a typical Ohio worker without a Bachelor’s degree earns significantly less than a typical worker with more education ($31,000 compared to $55,000).

“While some employers are facing hiring challenges in their region, many of those issues could be addressed with better human resources practices and labor market matching support from the state workforce development system. The idea that there is a glut of openings for high paying jobs requiring less than a four-year degree cuts against the data,” said Halbert. “Education still matters in our labor market. The tax bills currently moving through Congress will make higher education even more expensive for working people, in order to pay for tax breaks for extremely wealthy families and corporations. This is clearly the wrong direction for Ohio.”

In more positive news, a separate survey also released today by ODJFS shows that Ohio’s labor force grew in October (+4,000) and unemployment decreased (-9,000), moving our unemployment rate in the right direction. The state unemployment rate in October was 5.1 percent, a full percentage point higher than the national rate of 4.1 percent. The nation’s labor force has grown by 4.2 percent since the start of the recession. Ohio’s is still down 3.5 percent. The state still needs about 212,000 more people working or looking for work just to recoup the size of its pre-recession labor force.

“Tax policy should not be a tool to drive money to the wealthiest people in the nation, at the expense of investments in education and job training that help all communities succeed,” said Halbert.

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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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2017Hannah HalbertJobWatchWorkforce Development

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