COLUMBUS — Ohio added the most jobs in the nation in May, and the state added more jobs than it has in more than 14 years, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Nonfarm employment in Ohio grew by 32,100 workers last month after two months of fairly disappointing payroll changes. Ohio added only 6,200 jobs in April, and it lost 21,700 jobs in March, more than any other state.
The unemployment rate held steady at 7 percent in May and the number of unemployed rose by 5,000 to 405,000, the Department of Job and Family Services said. Only people actively seeking jobs are counted as unemployed, so the increase could mean more people have entered the work force.
The Ohio unemployment remains below the U.S. rate of 7.6 percent.
Service-providing industries drove most of the growth. The sector includes education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services.
It is not surprising that some industries increased hiring in May, such as leisure and hospitality, because their sales pick up in warm-weather months, said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Similarly, local governments also increase hiring during the spring and summer months to staff municipal pools, golf courses, parks, and recreation-related venues, he said. Ohio's local government employment increased by 6,300 workers, state government by 600, and federal by 300.
Ohio's economy has added jobs 15 of the last 20 months. Ohio's nonfarm payrolls grew 0.62 percent in May, the fastest growth since February, 1999, when payrolls increased 0.65 percent (plus-35,900 jobs), according to seasonally adjusted data.
Ohio's monthly job growth far outpaced the national trend. The U.S. economy added 175,000 nonfarm jobs last month, with payrolls growing only 0.13 percent from April. Ohio's unemployment rate held steady last month at 7 percent.