Unemployment Rate Continues Fall, but Pandemic Effects Still Felt

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in September, down from 8.9% the month before and down significantly from the pandemic peak of 17.6% in April.

But the figure is still double what it was a year ago, when the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported an unemployment rate of 4.1% in September 2019.

The state’s nonagricultural employment increased 41,500 over the month to 5,188,200.

All sectors except for state and federal government posted job gains in September; those areas lost 3,500 and 1,700 jobs, respectively.

Goods-producing industries added 3,500 jobs, mostly in manufacturing (up 3,100 jobs), with gains also seen in construction (300) and mining and logging (100).

The private service sector added 34,900 jobs. Leisure and hospitality accounted for roughly a third of that gain, adding 12,400 jobs. Professional and business services added 9,600 jobs while trade, transportation and utilizes added 5,600. Education and health services added 2,800 jobs, the information sector added 1,300 and financial activities added 1,300. “Other services” added 2,800 jobs.

But those gains still don’t make up for the losses seen during the spring, when the unemployment rate was above 10% from April through June.

September’s total employment was down 403,700 from a year ago, with just about ever  sector posting losses. The only exception, according to the Department of Job and Family Services, was nondurable goods production, which added 1,900 jobs year-over-year.

The leisure and hospitality sector has been hardest hit by the pandemic, losing 131,000 jobs. Also hard-hit are trade, transportation and utilities (down 55,100), professional and business services (53,800), durable goods manufacturing (40,100) and education and health services (34,600).

The financial activities sector has lost 14,300 since September 2019, while information has lost 2,300 and “other services” is down 7,700.

The national unemployment rate is 7.9%, down from 8.4% in August and up from the 3.5% rate in September 2019.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.