The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services released the October 2015 data on employment and unemployment on Friday and the overall job figures for the state in October were favorable, with a robust gain of 30,800 jobs.
Cleveland-based economic analyst George Zeller noted that today’s statistics show the recovery was driven by a robust increase of 5,800 jobs in Manufacturing and another robust increase of 5,800 jobs in Construction. “That growth in blue collar Ohio employment drove the robust overall Ohio job growth figure for October, obviously a very good thing,” Zeller said today via email.
“But, Ohio’s job growth rate in October 2015 was 1.43%. The job growth rate in the United States in October 2015 was 1.94%,” Mr. Zeller said, adding, “Thus, October was the 36th consecutive month when Ohio’s job growth was slower than the USA national average. This highly damaging streak has now been extended to three full years, with all months during those three years, including today’s October 2015 figure, finding that Ohio’s job growth rate has been continuously too slow.”
Most worrisome for Mr. Zeller is the current subpar rate of job growth in Ohio. Ohio’s number-one number cruncher estimates it will take Ohio nearly 8 more years to recover the jobs that Ohio previously lost during a combination of the 2000’s recession and the 2007 “Great Recession.” “That is extremely troubling,” he writes.
Part of the robust job growth in Ohio during October, Zeller said, was caused by a 4,500 downward revision to last month’s September 2015 not seasonally adjusted figure. What was thought to be a job loss of 9,600 jobs last month was revised to a larger August loss of 13,100 today.
“Once again this month, the main cause of the slow growth in Ohio has been government policy,” Zeller observed. “Cutting government spending during a bad recession is always explosively dangerous public policy,” he notes. “This was the cause of the ‘Great Depression’ in 1929. This time we do not have a ‘Great Depression,’ but we still have a ‘Great Recession’ because of damaging public policy at the state of Ohio government and at the federal government.”
In October 2015 Ohio lost 4,800 jobs in Local Government and also lost 700 jobs in State Government. Federal Government employment was unchanged in October 2015 in Ohio, but since last year, Federal Government employment in Ohio is down by 1,200. “Thus, all three levels of government are slowing down Ohio’s recovery as a matter of public policy, through an extremely damaging cut in government spending and employment during a bad recession,” writes Zeller.
Media always focuses on the unemployment rate when data of this kind is released. The rate in Ohio ticked down a bit, from 4.5 percent in September to 4.4 percent in October. Zeller notes that Ohio’s labor force, which had been declining every month during summer 2015, finally stabilized in October with an increase of 7,000. In October, unemployed workers declined by 5,000 while employed workers increased by 12,000, for a net positive gain of 17,000.
Zeller asks, how can Ohio gain 17,000 employed workers during a month when Ohio gained 28,000 jobs? “The answer is that Ohio cannot do this. Once again this month, the unemployment estimate for Ohio is inaccurate. For a change, the estimate is too conservative this month. The federal government does not spend sufficient money to sample any of the USA states when calculating the monthly unemployment estimates. That is true in Ohio, as it is true in all of the 49 other states. Thus, the monthly unemployment estimates for states in the USA are notoriously imprecise and inaccurate, as they are once again this month.”
Bottom line for Zeller is this: “Even this month’s robust job gains in Ohio have been insufficient to generate sufficient job growth to get all of the previously laid off workers back to work in Ohio.”
“Ohio badly needs to speed up its rate of recovery, so that the many thousands of previously laid off workers can find a job,” Zeller warns. “Three full years of continuous sub-par and too slow job growth in Ohio still leaves many thousands of suffering Ohio workers with no job and no income. Thus, this major issue remains Ohio’s most serious unsolved problem.”