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Jobless Report Raises Questions

A photo of an unemployment office.
BURT LUM
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The unemployment rate moved up in January.

Ohio’s jobless rate has ticked up slightly, after six months of unchanged numbers. But there are some concerns about other figures in the latest state unemployment report.

The unemployment rate has been at 4.6 percent since June, and moved up a tenth of a point in January – which is higher than it was a year ago and a lot higher than the national jobless rate of 4 percent. But economists are raising serious questions about a huge downward revision in data from December on private sector jobs created.

The conservative Buckeye Institute said that revision cuts the total number of jobs created last year in half, and said that change needs further explanation. And economic research analyst George Zeller said it’s the largest monthly loss that Ohio has seen in decades, including during the Great Recession, and said earlier reports of job growth numbers are now highly questionable.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.