It would sure be a lot more fun if I could relay good news about the job market in Ohio. Sadly, I can’t — as usual, except for Metro Columbus.
The latest Regional and State Employment and Unemployment report from the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics came out this morning. Its Household Survey component tells us that the Buckeye State’s unemployment rate inched up to a seasonally adjusted 7.3 percent in August, making it the same as the rest of the nation.
For quite a while, the state’s rate had been over a full point lower than the rest of the U.S. No more.
Meanwhile, the Establishment Survey of employers tells us that Ohio:
- Lost 8,200 seasonally adjusted jobs in August after gaining a downwardly revised 3,200 in July.
- Has gained only 32,500 jobs in the past 12 months.
A dive into the BLS’s databases reveals that Ohio has only gained 3,300 jobs since February.
But if you live within or around the I-270 Beltway, i.e., in Metro Columbus, things are soooo much better.
The Columbus metro area’s July unemployment rate (the Household Survey hasn’t been updated at the metro level yet) was 6.3 percent, a full point below where the rest of the state was in August. Columbus’s unemployment rate probably did not go up in August.
The Establishment Survey says that Columbus gained 2,400 seasonally adjusted payroll jobs in August, meaning that the rest of the state lost 10,600. In the past six months, Columbus has gained 16,000 payroll jobs, an employment increase of almost 1.7 percent. The rest of the state has therefore lost 12,700.
Oh, and the state’s seasonally adjusted workforce shrank by over 13,000 in August (over 24,000 in the past two months). I’ll betcha none or almost none of that shrinkage occurred in Metro Columbus.
Again, it’s no fun to say this, but Metro Columbus continues to prosper, arguably at the expense of the rest of the Buckeye State.
UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.: Here’s what has happened in Ohio and its major metro areas per the Establishment Survey in the past 12 and 24 months (not seasonally adjusted):
Percentage employment growth has been twice as fast in Metro Columbus than it has been in the rest of the state.
This is the good news. The more inclusive Household Survey data at the metro level comes out towards the end of this month, and you can virtually take it to the bank that it will show a far greater disparity between Columbus and the rest of the state.
UPDATE 2, Sept. 21: In a partial defense of Ohio, the BLS has Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemploymment rate 0.1 points higher than a year ago (from 7.2% to 7.3% in Table 3) even though the not seasonally adjusted (i.e. actual) rate of 6.9% is lower than Auugst 2012′s 7.0% (Table 4). So the state can still legitimately claim a sliver of overall improvement in the past 12 months.