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Ohio's Jobless Rate Rises In June

photo of help wanted sign
The rate was 4.3 percent in May, which was the lowest level for the state since 2001.

Ohio’s unemployment rate was up last month. It was 4.5 percent in June, compared with 4.3 percent in May, which was at the lowest level since July 2001. But the number of employed Ohioans increased a bit, too.

An economist with the Buckeye Institute, Andrew Kidd, said the slightly higher number of unemployed Ohioans doesn’t tell the whole story.

“But really that’s just seeing more people enter the labor force so we have more people searching for jobs because we have an environment that is pro-job growth,” he said.

Kidd noted many of the jobs that were new in June were temporary or in the service sector. But he said there’s something else that could affect Ohio’s jobless numbers in the future. Kidd said he’s watching to see what impact the newly announced tariffs will have on Ohio. 

“We did see 9,000 new jobs this month. But we saw some huge losses in construction sector and trade sector, and those are two areas where we are kind of expecting to see the tariffs impacting. You know when you have job losses there, it kind of starts to ripple throughout the rest of the economy," he said. "If you don’t have construction, then you don’t have new businesses or new apartments so population growth stunts. You don’t have new businesses to help create new jobs.”

Another perspective
Hannah Halbert of Policy Matters Ohio said she’s concerned when she looks at the latest job numbers.

“So if we look back to 2005, that is when the state did a huge tax overhaul. We have grown by 3.5 percent since then. The nation has grown by more than 11 percent. So there’s this long-term trend of underperformance,” she said.

Halbert said she’s also looking at the long-term income inequality in Ohio that she said has taken place since the end of the recession.

“Ohio’s top 1 percent has pocketed over 30 percent of the total income growth in those nine years. So the top 1 percent in Ohio, on average, made more than 18 times the bottom 99 percent," she said. "And so that inequality piece doesn’t get picked up in our job growth numbers and that’s hugely important, especially when we look at the June numbers and see that job growth really happened in leisure and hospitality.” 

As Ohio goes into the fall election season, candidates are likely going to be scrutinizing upcoming numbers and providing their own points of view about what they mean.