COLUMBUS — Ohio’s free-market think tank found an encouraging sign in the state’s April jobs report released Friday morning. Although The Buckeye Institute’s Rea S. Hederman Jr. is concerned by the loss of 13,600 jobs, he said the new report shows continued record growth in labor force participation.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ latest employment report shows Ohio’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.2 percent in April from 5.1 percent in March. Labor force participation, however, increased to 63.5 percent from 63.3 percent, which suggests a strong recovery is underway, according to Hederman.
“Ohio’s April jobs report indicates that potential workers continue to enter the labor force to find work,” Hederman, The Buckeye Institute’s executive vice president and director of its Economic Research Center, said. “The bad news is new job opportunities did not grow as fast in April and the unemployment rate grew as a result.”
Over the last year, Ohio has surpassed the national average in terms of potential workers entering the labor force. The United States labor force participation has remained virtually flat at 62.8 percent and actually declined over the last month. By comparison, Ohio’s labor force has grown nearly 1 percent over the last year.
“Ohio does have a slightly higher unemployment rate than the national average, but that is because of the increase in the state’s labor force participation rate,” Hederman said. “Ohio’s tax cuts have generated growth and opportunity, but more needs to be done. Policymakers should look at Ohio’s regulations that can restrict opportunities for both businesses and workers.”
The April report shows the construction industry gained 900 jobs last month. Still, that increase did not make up for losses in manufacturing (-2,700) or business and professional services (-5,100). Jobs in real estate increased by 2,400 in April, making that sector the fastest-growing one over the last year, increasing by 9.7 percent.
Local government also declined by 6,100 jobs. Mining and logging continues to shed jobs, losing one out of every five jobs over the last month.
The Buckeye Institute analyzes Ohio’s unemployment rate to identify policy solutions for increasing job opportunities and strengthening the state economy.
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Founded in 1989, The Buckeye Institute is an independent research and educational institution – a think tank – whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.