Ohio added nearly 29,000 jobs in January; unemployment rate at 5.3%

Ohio added nearly 29,000 jobs in January as the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.3%, according to data released Friday, March 12, by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 28,900 over the month, to 5,306,700 in January from a revised 5,277,800 in December, ODJFS reported. The unemployment rate fell from a revised 5.6% in December as the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have begun to ease.

The state said the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in January was 307,000, down from 321,000 in December. Over the past 12 months, though, the number of unemployed has increased by 39,000, from 268,000 in January 2020, when the state’s jobless rate was 4.5%.

Ohio’s unemployment rate is below that of the country as a whole. The U.S. unemployment rate for January was 6.3%, down from 6.7% in December, and up from 3.5% in January 2020.

Here’s the breakdown of different employment sectors in Ohio for January:

• Employment in goods-producing industries, at 890,700, increased 1,800 over the month. Gains came in construction (+1,400) and manufacturing (+400), while mining/ logging was unchanged.

• The private service-providing sector, at 3,667,000 increased by 21,000. The biggest gains were in leisure and hospitality (+10,300) and educational and health services (+6,800). Others posting advances were financial activities (+1,700); trade, transportation and utilities (+1,400); professional and business services (+800); and information (+400). The only category showing a drop was other services (-400).

• Government employment, at 749,000, increased 6,100, as gains in state (+4,500) and local (+1,700) government employment surpassed a 100-job loss in federal government employment.

The free market-oriented Buckeye Institute think tank noted in a statement that recent monthly improvements in state jobs data “mask how bad the past year has been for Ohio. Every sector of the economy lost jobs compared to January and February of 2020, and Ohio is still down 260,600 private-sector jobs — 214,100 of those from the hard-hit service sector. While Ohio still has a ways to go to recover completely from the pandemic, and many workers have been unemployed for nearly a year, it is worth noting that Ohio has recovered nearly three-quarters of its lost jobs from April 2020 when job losses exceeded 800,000.”

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