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Economy and Business

Ohio's jobless rate remains steady
Ohio saw a 4,000 job decrease in March -- running counter to the long-term trend

Bill Cohen
In The Region:

Ohio’s new official unemployment rate for March shows no change from February. The jobless rate is 7.1 percent.

Ben Johnson helps track the numbers at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. In an interview with Statehouse Correspondent Bill Cohen, Johnson notes that Ohio’s unemployment trend the past few months hasn't been as bright as the one the state has seen the past few years.

Hear Ben Johnson talk about how Ohio's jobless rate remains steady

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"Ohio’s unemployment rate has been coming down fairly consistently for more than two years. In the last three months, the rate has gone up slightly or held steady. ... Whether that’s indicative of something larger or whether the rate will return to a steady decrease in future months"is unknown.

But Johnson says the state still believes the economy is slowly improving, "and we have said all along that inherent in a slow recovery will be some periods of time where the unemployment rate either holds steady or picks up slightly."

The number translates into about 20,000 fewer Ohioans who actually had jobs.  

"We saw job losses in most sectors," Johnson said. "The few sectors where employment increased were manufacturing, ... and wholesale trade also added jobs.

Johnson noted that Ohio's economy added 16,000 jobs in February.

But he said some national economists are predicting a second-quarter downturn and "We could be seeing the beginning of that  here in Ohio. Tat certainly wouldn't be something that’s unique to Ohio, and in fact Ohio continues to outperform the rest of the country."

Ohio’s current unemployment rate of 7.1 percent is a half-point below the national average. Still, 406,000 Ohioans remain out of a job.


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