December jobs report: declining employment and labor force participation

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services today released Ohio’s unemployment numbers for December. Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.5% to 8.1%, due to a decrease in the number of unemployed workers from 496,000 in November to 469,000 in December.

However an unfortunate trend continues as the number of workers who are actually participating in the workforce continues to drop.  The civilian labor force—a number that represents both those currently working and those looking for work—dropped by 21,000 in November. This is the second straight month of extreme drops in the size of Ohio’s labor force. This trend is alarming as it indicates that Ohio citizens are no longer looking for employment. These citizens may have decided to stay home rather than look for employment or have taken an early retirement.

In addition to the decline in the overall labor force, fewer Ohioans were employed in December than the previous month. Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment decreased by 3,300 over the month. Professional and business services saw the largest decrease, with a loss of 4,700 jobs.  Construction and goods-producing industries also saw large decreases, with a decrease of 2,600 and 2,100 jobs respectively. Government, educational and health services all saw job gains for the month.