Ohio’s “Recovery” Due to Shrinking Labor Force

Ohio’s “Recovery” Due to Shrinking Labor Force | Media Trackers Ohio


BLS data show that employment in Ohio bottomed out at 5,255,784 – lower than at any other time in the past decade – in December 2009. By August 2012, Ohio had regained just 82,127 of the more than 350,000 jobs lost after the national housing bubble burst.

Despite paltry job growth, the reported unemployment rate dropped from 10.6 percent to 7.2 percent during the same period because Ohio’s August 2012 labor force of 5.75 million was 3.1 percent smaller than the July 2009 labor force of 5.94 million.

BLS labor force and employment figures clearly demonstrate that the state’s economy is not roaring back as a 3.4 percent drop in the unemployment rate might suggest, but is in fact recovering at a sluggish rate while tens of thousands of Ohioans leave the labor force.

After ARRA became law, Ohio’s economy lost another 159,182 jobs on its way down to the December 2009 trough. Although ARRA job creation reports are scattershot at best, the cost to taxpayers for each ARRA job would be $86,451 if the bill was given credit for every job gained and blame for none of the jobs lost.

“From 2008 through August 2012, Ohio’s labor force lost more workers than every state except Michigan,” Mayer explained in the October 23 Opportunity Ohio report. “From 2010 to August 2012, Ohio’s labor force lost more workers than every state.”

“Ohio’s unemployment rate is being driven down by the shrinking labor force, not by job gains,” Mayer concluded.

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