Ohio gained 100 jobs in January with an unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, according to a report released last week from Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The January job figure is “extremely disappointing and actually exceptionally alarming,” said George Zeller, an independent economic analyst based in Cleveland.
“January 2016 was the 38th consecutive month when Ohio’s job growth has been below the national average,” Zeller said. “So a glum set of Ohio employment figures was the last thing that we needed to see right now.”
In Ohio, the number of workers unemployed in January was 279,000, which was 6,000 from 273,000 in December 2015, according to the job report from the Department of Job and Family Services.
The report shows that Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in January 2016, which was up from 4.8 percent in December. Ohio’s non-agricultural employment increased by 100 jobs over the month, reaching 5,475,500 in January 2016.
January saw a sharp decrease in government employment. Government jobs were down by 7,600 in January, almost cancelling out the 1,100 job gain in goods-producing industries and the 6,600 increase in private service-providing sector.
The decline in government employment was driven primarily by a decline in local government employment, Angela Terez, an Ohio Job and Family Services spokeswoman, said.
“It is expected, as school districts and community colleges are on winter break,” Terez said.
During January, local government employment decreased by 5,500 in Ohio. State government jobs were down by 1,200, and 900 jobs were lost in the federal government.
Zeller said the actual cause of the government employment decrease was at the Ohio state legislature and the governor who implemented large cuts to local government entities in the state’s new biennial budget.
Each year in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revises monthly employment data from the previous five years. Terez said the department originally reported that Ohio added 65,800 total non-farm jobs, and the revision showed that the state added 80,700 non-farm jobs last year.
“The gain in 2015 was well below what the state often attained in the 1990s, and does not represent robust growth,” said Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters Ohio, in an email.
Policy Matters Ohio is a nonpartisan policy research institute.
“Moreover, we continue to trail behind the nation in overall job growth – over the past 12 months Ohio jobs grew 1.5 percent, while U.S. jobs grew 1.9 percent,” Schiller said.