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Published: Wednesday, 9/3/2014

Report: Ohio workers productive but making less


DAYTON, Ohio — Ohio workers are more productive and better educated these days, yet they aren’t necessarily making more money as a result, according to a new report.

Ohio productivity grew by nearly 67 percent between 1979 and 2013, while median hourly wages fell by 1.1 percent when adjusted for inflation. That’s according to a recent analysis of jobs data from Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based economic think tank.

Ohio’s median wage was $15.81 last year, slightly above 2012 but well below the highs of $17.11 and $17.12 in 1999 and 1979. The report says Ohio’s median wage is now nearly 90 cents less per hour than the national median.

Economists say that much of the productivity improvement in recent years has been driven by technology, which requires fewer workers, according to the Dayton Daily News.

Ohio’s manufacturing sector produced $99.8 billion worth of goods, or 4.8 percent of the nation’s manufacturing output in 2013, ranking it fourth in the U.S. after California, Texas and Illinois, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Tom Traynor, a Wright State University economics professor, said Ohio’s manufacturing sector is becoming more “capital intensive,” while using progressively less labor over time.

“In a way, manufacturing is going through a long-term process similar to that which farming went through a long time ago,” he said. “Today, if you look at U.S. agriculture, there is more food produced than ever in this country, but we just have so many fewer people producing it.”

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