Columbus, OH – Andrew J. Kidd, Ph.D., the senior economist with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute commented on newly released unemployment data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. (Click here to download the audio file.)

“Ohio’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.4 percent, down from 4.5 percent in February. This continued trend, combined with a similar labor force participation rate, is a positive indicator that Ohio’s job market is allowing individuals who desire jobs to get jobs. However, Ohio has yet to reach the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. This, as well as a labor force participation rate lower than the national average shows that Ohio still has work to do. The right reforms, such as closing tax loopholes and removing unnecessary barriers to employment through occupational licensing, would create opportunities for sustained job growth.

“Ohio continued to experience positive job growth with 8,600 new jobs in non-farm private employment. Coupled with January and February’s job growth, more than 37,000 Ohioans have found jobs this year alone, which shows that Ohio’s job market is still expanding. The growth in construction and manufacturing jobs (1,200 jobs and 1,500 respectively), is a positive sign for economy-wide growth, and with the potential implications of tariffs will be important to watch in the coming months.

“Ohio in 2018 has experienced positive job growth. Yet, another month of an unchanged labor force participation rate once again implies that some individuals are still not searching for jobs. Reforms to occupational licensing, and an end to preferential tax credits to only certain industries would further expand Ohio’s job market and help Ohio reach its goal of being a national leader in job creation.”