State jobless rate continues to rise

A slow but steady rise in the state jobless rate continues, with the Ohio unemployment rate rising slightly in August, reaching 5.4 percent, up from 5.2 percent in July.

Ohio’s non-agricultural wage and salary employment increased 5,200 over the month, from a revised 5,540,000 in July to 5,545,200 in August, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday morning.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in August was also up, rising 11,000 to 311,000. The number of unemployed has increased by 29,000 in the past year from 282,000.

Last month’s jobless rate is also higher than the August unemployment rate in 2016, which was 4.9 percent.

Again, the state’s jobless rate is higher than the national number. The U.S. unemployment rate for August was 4.4 percent up from 4.3 percent in July and down from 4.9 percent in August 2016.

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Jobs grew in goods-producing industries, by 3,500 jobs over the month due to gains in construction (adding 1,900 jobs) and manufacturing (up 1,600 jobs), the state said.

George Zeller, a Cleveland economist, called the manufacturing and jobs numbers “the bright side” to Friday’s report.

“The key culprit in the slowing Ohio job growth rate in August was once again a loss of 5,900 jobs in government,” Zeller said.

He said August was “the 57th consecutive month” when Ohio's job growth was below the USA national average.

There were also gains in leisure and hospitality, adding 6,600 jobs, educational and health services, growing 3,800 jobs, and other services, with 3,200 new jobs.

The month saw losses in trade, transportation, and utilities, losing 4,500 jobs, professional and business services, down 1,000 jobs, financial activities, down 400 jobs. and information (-100).

As Zeller noted, government employment, at 775,800, fell 5,900 due to losses in state government, down 3,600 jobs, and local government, which lost 1,900 jobs. The federal government cut 400 jobs, the state said.

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