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Private Sector Gains 3,800 Jobs, But Labor Force Decline Wipes Out Early Gains

The March 2014 Ohio By the Numbers report (now available on The Buckeye Institute website) is another mixed bag for Ohio's economy. On the positive side, Ohio's private sector gained 3,800 jobs and the unemployment rate, 6.1 percent, continued to dip below the national rate of 6.7 percent. However, Ohio's Labor Force took a hit. After the first two months of 2014, Ohio's Labor Force had increased by 7,000 people. In March, the labor force lost all of those gains and then some, declining by over 11,000 people.

Overall, Ohio's Labor Force Participation rate has slipped from 63.7 percent in March, 2013 to 63.3 percent in March, 2014. While Ohio's working age population increased by 40,000 year-over-year in March (9.048 million in 2013 to 9.089 million in 2014), those either employed or actively looking for work declined by 11,000.

These numbers are another indication that Ohio is continuing to climb out of the economic pit it had fallen into in the previous decade when it lost more private sector jobs than any state in the nation except Michigan. While the reduction in unemployment rate is positive, Ohio's labor force continues to show signs of weakness as indicated by the decline in labor participation, which accounts for some of the unemployment rate decrease as well.

For a full Labor Force update, click here: http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/uploads/files/03-14%20Labor%20Force%20Ro...

Overall highlights from the report:

* Ohio gained 3,800 private sector and lost 3,200 government jobs in February;
* Ohio ranked 25th nationally in private sector job growth since January 2010, growing at a 7.3 percent rate;
* Ohio currently ranks 47th nationally for private sector job growth since January of 1990, growing at 9.8 percent (top-ranked Nevada grew 97.5 percent over the same time span).

Within individual industry sectors, Professional and Business Services, Education and Health Services, and Leisure and Hospitality continue to employ more people today than in either 1990 or 2000. Meanwhile, Mining and Logging, Construction, Manufacturing, and Information sectors have fewer jobs today than in 1990 or 2000.

The report shows that Forced Union states (which include Ohio and several of its neighbors -- with the exceptions of Indiana, which became a Worker Freedom state in February of 2012, and Michigan, whose recent Worker Freedom law became effective at the end of March 2013) had a private sector growth rate far below Worker Freedom states.

Between 1990 and January 2012, Worker Freedom states' private sector jobs grew at a 38 percent rate vs. only 14 percent for Forced Union states (11.8 million vs. 8 million). Since Indiana became a Worker Freedom state in February 2012, Worker Freedom states' private sector jobs grew at a rate of 4.8 percent vs. 3.7 percent for Forced Union states.

For the full report, please click here: http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/uploads/files/ObN-2014-03%20.pdf