Ohio Unemployment Rate Jumps to 16.8%

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s unemployment rate skyrocketed to 16.8% in April, the first full month since the coronavirus pandemic hit the state, and the highest since the state’s current record-keeping system was developed almost 50 years ago.

The figure comes after nine weeks of job losses following the decision to shut down much of Ohio’s economy to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The last time the unemployment rate was even near this figure was the 14% recorded in December 1982 and January 1983, said Bret Crow, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The state’s unemployment rate in March was 5.8%. The first cases in the state were reported March 9 – though later testing showed cases in the state as early as January – and the first stay-at-home order was signed March 13. 

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 14.7%in April, up from 4.4% in March.

The number of unemployed workers in Ohio was 957,000, up from 623,000 in March. Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment fell to 4,715,400 last month, down 823,700 from March

The leisure and hospitality sector shed the most jobs in the state, as employment in April was down 263,500 from the previous month. Trade, transportation and utilities employment fell 115,900, while professional and business services dropped 101,000 workers.

Education and health service shed 99,900 employees, Manufacturing businesses cut 96,300 jobs. Construction employment fell 39,400. Financial activities was down 12,500 employees. The information sector lost 5,600 jobs and “other services” cut 47,400 workers.

Government employment also sharply decreased, with local governments cutting 36,400 jobs and state offices dropping 5,600. Federal government employment did not change month-over-month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.