October’s spooky math: Ohio jobs decline for a third month, labor force shrinks again

By Hannah Halbert - Policy Matters Ohio

For the third consecutive month Ohio has lost jobs. The state lost 2,800 jobs in October, according to data released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Gains in production (+6,400) did not offset losses in the service sector (-6,000) and in public sector employment (-3,200).

Ohio continues to backtrack on job growth. The losses have been small, but it is a worrying trend, and one we have not seen since late 2009.

Ohio’s 12-month job growth rate is now under one percent. The national job growth average over the same time is nearly double the state’s rate (1.7 percent). Ohio rolled back income and corporate business taxes in 2005 on the promise that such cuts would promote robust growth. Since that time the number of jobs has only grown by 81,700 (1.5 percent). If Ohio had kept pace with the nation (8.2 percent), we would have more than 362,000 additional jobs.

Ohio has had more than a decade of tax cuts for the wealthy, but the promised job growth has not happened. We have underperformed the nation and too many have been left behind. Ohio needs to reverse course.

Data from a separate survey of households that was also released by ODJFS offered little comfort. Ohio’s unemployment rate remained low, but ticked up another 0.1 percent to 4.9 percent. The state’s labor force dropped again in October (-19,000). Five months of five-figure declines have eroded much-needed gains. Over the last 12 months, Ohio’s labor force has grown by a paltry 0.7 percent. Since the official start of the 2007 national recession, the Ohio labor force is down by 245,000.

The next state budget needs to address our slow growth rate. Tax cuts are not working for working Ohio. Investment is needed to build an inclusive and prosperous state economy.

By Hannah Halbert

Policy Matters Ohio