New Employment Data Shows Ohio Still Underperforming

Yesterday, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly regional and state employment figures, showing Ohio gaining 16,700 jobs in January and the unemployment rate dropping to 6.9 percent. Also incorporated into the January numbers were revisions to 2013 data to reflect the results of the Bureau’s annual benchmarking process. The revisions are good news for Ohio, showing that 68,000 more Ohioans were working in 2013 than had been previously reported.

So, what can we now conclude about job-creation in the state since the recession? That Ohio’s growth is not as bad as it had looked before – when monthly reports showed Ohio consistently in the bottom five among states in yearly job creation – but not as good as it could be. Ohio falls squarely in the middle of the pack among states in adding jobs, and lags the nation as a whole in both employment gains and in reducing the ranks of the unemployed.

Here is how Ohio’s job growth measures up against the nation as a whole:

ohio-vs-us

Since the creation of JobsOhio — the private entity tasked with attracting business to Ohio — in July, 2011, Ohio has added 174,700 new jobs, representing a growth rate of 3.4%. That lags well behind the nation as a whole, which grew employment by 4.3% over the same period.

Even with the revised data, over the past 12 months, Ohio ranks 27th among all states in job creation, according to BLS data comparing January, 2014 employment with that in January, 2013:

50-states

Over the same time period, the number of unemployed Ohioans has dropped by 25,500, or 6%. During the same period, national unemployment dropped by 17% and Ohio ranked just 40th among states for reducing the ranks of the unemployed.

So, what can we conclude about job-creation and unemployment in the state?  First, since John Kasich became Governor three years ago, Ohio’s job creation rate has lagged behind the nation’s.  Second, Ohio’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, and has been since July, 2013.  And third, the adjusted BLS numbers show that Ohio’s growth looks a bit better than it did before — when monthly reports showed Ohio consistently in the bottom five among all states in 12-month job creation — but not nearly as good as it could be.  Ohio ranks 7th in population, but 27th in job creation.  That’s better than 45th, but not where we need to be.