Ohio’s jobless rate held steady at 4.6 percent last month, but it also was down from 5 percent in August of last year.
New figures released Friday by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services showed 268,000 unemployed workers in August, an increase of 3,000 over July. But there were 23,000 more jobless workers in August of last year for a total of 291,000.
An employee works on a Jeep Liberty as it moves through the production line at the Chrysler Toledo North Assembly Plant.
“The unemployment rate held steady, which is good because the rate was kind of backing up the last few months, and employment growth looks good,” said George Mokrzan, chief economist for Huntington Bancshares’ private financial group. “That’s kind of following a general positive trend,” he added.
In August, Ohio’s non-agricultural wage and salary employment rose 13,900 to a total of 5.63 million, which compared with 5.61 million in July.
Jobs in goods-producing industries decreased by 1,400 to a total of 933,900, the state said, with manufacturing losing 1,800 jobs, but construction gaining 300 jobs and mining and logging 100 jobs.
The private service sectors added 10,800 jobs, for a total of 3.9 million, with the largest gains being 7,800 jobs in education and health services; 3,500 in leisure and hospitality, and 2,400 in other services.
“Year-over-year we had 1.63 percent growth [in August]. That looks like an accelerated trend to me,” Mr. Mokrzan said. “That actually looks like strength in the labor market.”
The Huntington economist said acceleration in job growth started last year going back to the first half of 2017. “It was running about 1 percent and now it’s up to 1.6 percent,” Mr. Mokrzan said. “So that’s a clear improvement and the total private employment is even a little better than the aggregate. That’s up 1.7 percent.”
The U.S. unemployment rate for August was 3.9 percent, unchanged from July, but down from 4.4 percent in August of last year.
The national jobless rate is obviously lower, but the job growth rate for the nation is 1.6 percent — nearly the same as Ohio’s rate, Mr. Mokrzan noted. “We have finally accelerated up to the national pace of growth,” he said.
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