Ohio unemployment falls to 8.9%

Ohio’s jobless rate fell from 11% in June to 8.9% in July, with the state adding nearly 63,000 jobs in the space of a month.

Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 62,700 over the month, to 5.1 million in July, according to new numbers Ohio government released Friday.

The number of unemployed workers in Ohio last month was 503,000, down 133,000 from 636,000 in June.

But even with fears of the global COVID-19 pandemic and government lock-down orders easing over time, this remains an historically bad labor market. The number of unemployed has increased by 262,000 people statewide in the last year.

Last July was a different era. The unemployment rate for Ohio last July was a bit over 4%.

“July’s jobs report shows Ohio’s businesses are struggling to recover from the pandemic and that workers are struggling to find jobs,” Rea Hederman Jr., vice president of policy at The Buckeye Institute think tank, said in a statement.

Hederman contends that lawmakers need to pass liability protection so business “can confidently reopen and people can safety return to work.”

He observed as well that a decline in Ohio’s labor force participation rate of 1.6% shows that “many unemployed Ohioans have left the labor force and have stopped looking for work — a concerning sign in the state’s ongoing economic recovery.”

“This reduction shows that even when more substantial federal unemployment compensation benefits were in place, Ohioans went back to work if they could,” Policy Matters Ohio researcher Michael Shields said, speaking for the state’s labor-focused think tank. “But the initial job rebound from Ohio’s reopening is starting to slow. "

Inaction on the part of federal lawmakers and “continued uncertainty from the state” is keeping families in crisis and setting the stage for “a deeper, longer recession,” Shields added.

Effectively managing the virus and the resulting public health crisis is a precondition for economic recovery, he maintained.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for July was 10.2%, down from 11.1% in June, and up from 3.7% in July 2019.

The biggest job-producing sectors in Ohio included the private services sector, which added nearly 60,000 jobs. Reopened hotels and restaurants and other players in leisure and hospitality added 25,100 jobs, while health services employees added 15,700 jobs.

Government added 4,900 jobs.

Employment in goods-producing industries, at 875,900, fell 2,000 over the month as losses in manufacturing (a loss of 3,700 jobs) and mining and logging (-300) exceeded gains in construction (+2,000).

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