Ohio’s unemployment rate held steady for the third consecutive month, but the number of people in the workforce increased slightly, giving optimism to at least one policy group.
The state’s jobless rate has remained at 5.4% since July, significantly lower than the 22.5% rate in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. September numbers also showed an increase in the percentage of people returning to work, according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Both are positive signs, said Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and vice president of policy.
“With Ohio’s unemployment rate holding steady at 5.4% and its labor force participation rate increasing to 61.1% (up from 60.8%), we see that employers have enough open positions that can be and are being filled by new workers. This is good news for Ohio’s recovering economy,” Hederman said.
Both figures, though, rank below the national average. The national unemployment rate for September was 4.8%, and the labor force participation rate was 61.6%.
Ohio’s private sector created 4,100 new jobs in September but remains almost 225,000 private-sector jobs from pre-pandemic levels, Hederman said. The manufacturing sector lost 2,800 jobs in September, which Hederman said shows continued supply chain shortages.
The leisure and hospitality sector also lost 1,000 jobs, but the service industry added 3,600 jobs.
“Overall, the September jobs report is good news for Ohio. It shows that the state’s job market continues to strengthen despite an increase in COVID cases,” Hederman said. “However, it also shows that the pandemic continues to impact Ohio’s economy through supply chain challenges, people continuing to work from home and fewer people enjoying meals out or other entertainment activities.”