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Report: Ohio incomes highly unequal

• Jun 17, 2016 at 9:58 AM

In 2013 the top one percent of earners in Ohio took home 17.8 times more than the bottom 99 percent, according to new analysis published by the Economic Policy Institute and released locally by Policy Matters Ohio. The top one percent earned an average 2013 income of $752,582 while the bottom 99 percent earned an average of just $42,391.

Income inequality in the US by state, metropolitan area, and county, by Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, PA and Estelle Sommeiller, a socio-economist at the Institute for Research in Economic and Social Sciences in Greater Paris, France, details the income of the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent by state, metropolitan area, and county.

"Rising inequality is a persistent problem throughout the country — in big cities and small towns and in all 50 states including Ohio" said Amy Hanauer, Executive Director of Policy Matters. "This national problem requires national policy solutions to help our economy work for all of us, not just for the wealthiest."

Other key findings include:

• Between 1979 and 2013 in Ohio, the average income of the top one percent of earners grew by 73.8 percent while the average income of the bottom 99 percent of earners, combined, actually declined by 3.6 percent.

• The most unequal metro area in Ohio was Cleveland-Elyria and the most unequal county was Monroe.

• Income inequality in the United States was even worse than in Ohio. The average 2013 income of the top one percent nationally was $1,153,293, more than 25 times the $45,567 average income of the bottom 99 percent.

• Within the top one percent, income inequality was even higher. In Ohio, the top one hundredth of one percent earned an average of $11,421,990 in 2013, more than 15 times that of the one percent and more than 269 times that of the bottom 99 percent. Again, the national situation is even worse, with the top .01 percent earning an average of more than $26 million.

Ohio, like the nation had very little job growth in May. The state added just 9,200 jobs last month, not enough to recover the number of jobs shed in April. Even with the nation adding a scant 38,000 jobs in May, Ohio still trails the national job growth average. Jobs data released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) show that the state has only grown by 1.2 percent since the official start of the 2007 recession. In total, Ohio has added only 67,200 jobs in those eight years. The nation as a whole has grown by nearly 4 percent over that same time.

"Job growth is better than job loss, but the data released today demonstrate that Ohio continues to have a slow and shallow recovery. The state continues to underperform the nation, even when national growth is disappointing," said Hannah Halbert, researcher with Policy Matters Ohio.

The state made very modest gains in the number of Ohioans working or actively seeking work (+9,000) according to data from a separate survey of households, also released today by ODJFS. This is much needed as Ohio's labor force is 2.5 percent smaller than it was when the 2007 recession officially began. In contrast the national labor force has grown by 3.0 percent over that time. Ohio's unemployment rate nudged back down to 5.1 percent, but remains slightly above the national rate of 4.7 percent.

"The small growth in Ohioans entering the labor force moves us in the right direction, albeit modestly. Long-term, however, it is clear that too many communities have been left out of the recovery," said Halbert. "Ohio could reverse this by prioritizing employment. The state should upgrade our infrastructure, reinvest in our local services, and make post-secondary education affordable, all of which would create jobs and opportunity."

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