Ohio’s May unemployment rate the lowest since ’70s, bouncing back to pre-COVID numbers

Health care accounts for one-third of Ohio’s new jobs in May



In May, Ohio had the lowest unemployment rate it has seen since 1976 – the year the state began reporting unemployment.

The state’s unemployment rate of 3.6% was down from April’s rate of 3.7%, and the state’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by more than 6,000 over the month. This brought the total up to 5.6 million workers.

Ohio’s unemployment in May was also slightly below the national average of 3.7%.

“Ohio job growth remained solid in May as the state finally surpassed its pre-COVID peak in total employment,” said Nationwide Senior Economist Ben Ayers after Friday’s release of Ohio May employment data.

The number of unemployed workers in Ohio in May was 207,000, down from 211,000 the month before.

The number of unemployed workers also decreased by 16,000 in the past 12 months from 223,000, according to the state job department.

Ayers said May’s data does not give any indication that the state’s labor market is “cooling off.” More workers are reentering the workforce to seek job opportunities and higher pay.

Ohio has added nearly 60,000 workers to payrolls since the start of the year. This compares to 86,500 new jobs across all of 2022, Ayers said.

The health care sector accounts for nearly a third of total new jobs within the state through last month. In addition, the hospitality sector continues to add workers, Ayers said.

Statewide, more than 3 million workers contribute to the private service-providing sector. The month of May saw more gains in employment related to health, hospitality and other services than it did in losses related to employment for finance activities and business services, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will not release unemployment data by county for the month of May until next week.

In April, Montgomery County had an unemployment rate of 3.4%, ranking as the 39th highest unemployment rate among Ohio’s 88 counties, according to estimates by the state job department.

Greene County reported an unemployment rate of 2.7% in April, while Miami County saw an unemployment rate of 2.8%.

Statewide, the May unemployment rate decreased 0.3% from 3.9% in May 2022.

The U.S. unemployment has increased from April, which saw a rate of 3.4%

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