August 20, 2014

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UPDATED with chart: Ohio’s job growth in 2013 was lowest in four years

Ohio created more jobs last year than earlier estimated. But the increase was less than the employment growth of the previous three years.

The revised numbers were released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as part of the annual update using more accurate information businesses filed in connection with unemployment insurance.

Jobs counts not seasonally adjusted. Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Jobs counts not seasonally adjusted.
Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

The new report showed Ohio had 5.29 million jobs in December — 38,900 more than in December 2012, according to revised data not adjusted for seasonal job swings. The seasonally adjusted data showed a higher 51,000 year-over-year hike. Both increases, however, were less than the gains in unadjusted counts for the previous three years: 74,300 in 2012, 78,600 in 2011 and 54,700 in 2010.

To see a breakdown of Ohio’s job growth, click here.

State officials welcomed the revisions, which indicated considerable more jobs were created last year and in 2012.

The earlier estimates placed the total job gains for those two years at only 55,000.

“The difference between the preliminary and the revised data is very similar to the difference between a poll and the actual election,” said Bruce Madson, assistant director for employment services at ODJFS.

While the earlier estimates showed job growth had reached an “unexpected and unexplainable plateau” in late 2012 and into last year, Madson said the new data showed “a steady, slow increase in jobs.”

Benjamin Johnson, deputy director of the ODJFS Office of Communications, acknowledged that 2011 saw the largest job growth with progressively “slightly smaller” increases the next two years. But he stressed that the revision showed larger increases in each of the years.

“What the revision shows is that both in each case and in total the state was adding jobs more rapidly and more consistently than previously reported,” he said.

Madson pointed out that last year’s data is less reliable than the earlier years because the unemployment insurance data used as a benchmark covers only the first half of 2012. He suggested last year’s counts may be revised higher in next year’s update.

“We can’t say for sure how that’s going to go, but the trend has been in a positive direction,” he said.

Gov. John Kasich pointed to the higher revisions as evidence his economic policies are creating jobs.

“There’s certainly more work to do, but by tearing down barriers to job growth, our jobs-friendly policies are helping Ohioans unleash their natural energy, creativity and work ethic and they’re lifting up our state,” Kasich said in a prepared statement.

George Zeller, a Cleveland researcher who tracks economic data for Northeast Ohio policymakers, said the data does indicate that Ohio’s job growth is slowing.

Zeller said Ohio’s growth rate in January was 1.16 percent compared to the national rate of 1.77 percent.

“That moves Ohio’s sub-par job growth rate streak to 15 consecutive months below the USA national average, he said. “We are recovering, which is good, but were not recovering fast enough.”

Zeller noted that Ohio posted its highest total of jobs — nearly 5.7 million — in 1999. He also pointed out that Ohio had more jobs in 2007 — before the last recession.

“We still haven’t recovered from the Great Recession,” he said.

Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.