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Revised Ohio job data show bigger gains, but growth still too slow, group says

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Mar 9, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Ohio is further along in our recovery than earlier jobs data indicated, according to freshly benchmarked jobs data from the Current Employment Survey released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Ohio jobs were down 2.4 percent (-132,600) from the start of the recession through January 2014, based on the revised seasonally adjusted numbers. This is a marked improvement compared to the unrevised data, which had the state trailing pre-recession jobs by 4 percent in December. The revised data suggest that the state has made more gains than previously reported.

Unfortunately, the data also suggest that the state is gaining slowly. The revisions show that Ohio's relative job growth still trailed that of the nation over the past 12 months, and that calendar year 2013 produced the slowest growth rate of any year since the recession. From December 2012 through December 2013, Ohio jobs grew 1.0 percent. In contrast, we grew 1.5 percent over the same period in 2011-12, and 1.6 percent in 2010-11. These figures from the ODJFS website reflect the regular annual revision of previously reported numbers, which adjusts them based on employer unemployment tax filings and other factors.

"The revised numbers are welcome news to a state still struggling to recover from the recession," said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher with Policy Matters Ohio. "But job growth is still too weak. Ohio added about 67,100 jobs over the past 12 months, and while 2013 was better than previously reported, this is still far less than historic standards."

Monthly numbers are always preliminary and subject to revision, making it unwise to make too much of monthly fluctuations. Today's report includes a gain of 16,500 jobs in January from December. The unemployment rate improved slightly in January, falling to 6.9 percent from 7.1 percent, according to data from a separate household survey, also released today by ODJFS. Much like the jobs data, the rate is improved, but still worse than the nation's 6.6 percent for January. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported separately today on the nation's job performance for February, which included that revised, 6.6 percent number and a February national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.

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