The Buckeye Institute: Ohio shows resiliency despite another slow month of job growth

COLUMBUS – Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., an economist with The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center, commented on newly released employment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“The mixed signals coming from Ohio’s jobs reports continue,” he said. “After another downward revision of last month’s jobs numbers, Ohio’s private-sector employment grew by only 1,200 jobs in August.

“Despite these flat numbers, we continue to see some promising signs in the household survey. While the unemployment rate grew from 4.0 percent to 4.1 percent, the labor force participation rate grew to 62.9 percent from 62.8 percent, and the number of people employed grew by 6,000. When this is viewed together, it shows that more people are returning to the job market with confidence, they are looking for work, and they are finding jobs.

“Another concerning trend is the year-to-year numbers. Ohio added 28,000 private-sector jobs from December 2017 to August 2018, however, the state has netted only 2,200 since December 2018. This shows that while the 2017 federal tax cut generated substantial job growth in 2018, those effects have waned as increased trade tensions have created economic uncertainty. This is particularly noticeable in the continuing drop in manufacturing jobs, which lost 1,200 jobs in August – falling below where it ended last year. And if an agreement in the GM-UAW strike is not reached soon, it is possible that more workers in Ohio could be affected in the coming months.

“This jobs report comes the same week that the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to counter the effects of trade tensions and signs of a global economic slowdown. With fears of a recession still on the horizon, slow job growth in Ohio is a concern, but, with a growing labor force, Ohio’s economy continues to show resiliency. However, with the continued economic uncertainty, it is critical that policymakers adopt and implement pro-growth policies that reduce barriers to employment and increase opportunities for training and education.”