Jobs slowly coming back to Ohio


October unemployment rate falls to 5.6% from 8.3%

Jobs are slowly returning in Ohio, with the state unemployment rate sinking to 5.6% in October, down from 8.3% the month before, state data released Friday show.

Statewide, non-agricultural wage and salary employers added 30,800 jobs last month, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said.

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The state put the number of workers unemployed in Ohio last month at 324,000, down from 469,000 in September.

“While still above the pre-COVID trend close to 4%, this is a remarkable decline from April’s peak of 17.6%” unemployment rate, said Nationwide Senior Economist Ben Ayers.

However, he added that total payroll employment in Ohio is still down 6.3% over the past year.

“The full recovery from this year’s job losses could be lengthy,” Ayers cautioned.

Taking a longer view, though, the state still struggles to free itself from the economic damage wrought by the global pandemic. From last October to this, the state lost 353,600 non-agricultural jobs.

The state’s October unemployment rate last year was 4.1%, by comparison.

Michael Shields, a researcher with the labor-focused Policy Matters Ohio think tank said continued, long-term unemployment benefits for Ohioans will be critical.

What we know is that Ohio has long way to go to a full recovery,” Shields said. “Support for unemployed Ohioans remains vital, but we are fast approaching the expiration of critical supports just as the number of long-term unemployed Ohioans is growing. Some 110,000 Ohio workers have exhausted the 26 weeks of regular unemployment compensation and are now receiving extended benefits.”

The national unemployment rate for October was 6.9%, down from 7.9% in September, but well up from 3.6% in October 2019.

Among the biggest winners in Ohio employment last month were goods-producing industries, at 896,200, adding 9,900 jobs over the month with gains in manufacturing (8,100 added jobs), construction (+1,500), and mining and logging (+300), the state said.

Meanwhile, applications or claims for unemployment benefits have slowly decreased since March but remain historically high.

Ohio residents filed 24,964 initial or new jobless claims last week, according to ODJFS. That was 249,251 fewer than, or about 9% of, the peak earlier this year, the state said.

The total of initial or first-time jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 35 weeks, more than 1.8 million, has been more than the combined total of those filed during the last four years.

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