State adds 11,500 jobs in June

Ohio’s unemployment rate rose slightly in June to 5 percent, as the state added 11,500 jobs.

The number of unemployed in the state has gradually risen by about 10,000 people in the past 12 months, even as the state added 56,800 jobs, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported Friday.

Government employment led job growth for the month. State employment was up by 6,000 and local government jobs increased by 100. Federal government employment did not change.

Other sectors gaining jobs included manufacturing, where employment increased 4,000 and financial activities, which was up 2,400 jobs. Employment in trade, transportation and utilities increased by 1,600 and construction jobs were up by 900.

“The job figures were reasonably good because an increase in manufacturing and government employment,” said George Zeller of Cleveland, an economic research analyst. “In manufacturing, 2,600 of the jobs were in durable goods manufacturing, which tend to be high-wage. We stopped cutting government, which is good. When we do cut government it slows things (job growth) down.”

The statewide rate last month and June a year ago was 4.9 percent. Ohio unemployment rate remains higher than the national unemployment rate for the ninth straight month.

During the first six months of 2017, Ohio has now gained 25,100 jobs, Zeller added, saying that puts the state on pace to match the 49,700 jobs that Ohio gained in 2016.

“But that growth remains too slow to make up for the large number of jobs (104,100) that Ohio has lost since the 2000s recession,” he added.

Zach Schiller, research director for Policy Matters Ohio, which tracks the state’s labor market, put June’s jobs growth into perspective.

“In recent years, Ohio has been unable to sustain strong job gains for more than a few months at a time,” he said in a news release. “Monthly numbers are volatile and subject to later revision, so an evaluation of the longer-term is more meaningful. While the June gain was encouraging, job growth for the year remains tepid at best.”

Despite June’s good numbers, Zeller said Ohio’s job growth rate still lags that of the U.S. He said Ohio’s job growth rate was 1.3 percent between June 2016 and June 2017. The U.S. job growth rate during that period was 1.5 percent.

“June 2017 was the 55th consecutive month when Ohio’s job growth rate was below the national average,” Zeller said.

The number of unemployed Ohio workers in June increased by 5,000 to 291,000. In order to be counted as unemployed, a person must be both jobless and actively seeking work. An increase in the number of unemployed could be an indication that more jobless people are confident they have a chance of landing work, so they have resumed the job search.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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