Ohio Unemployment Declines to 5.5% in May

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Ohio’s unemployment rate was down again in May, declining to 5.5% from 5.7% in April, which was down from 6.1% the month before, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported Friday.

Nonfarm wage and salary employment increased by 2,900 over the month, from a revised 5,295,400 in April to 5,298,300 in May. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in May was 317,000, down 11,000 from 328,000 in April. The number of unemployed has decreased by 108,000 in the past 12 months from 425,000. In May 2013, the Ohio unemployment rate was 7.4%.

Employment in goods-producing industries, at 874,300, decreased 600 from April. Construction lost 3,600 jobs. Manufacturing and mining and logging gained 2,900 and 100 jobs respectively. The private service-providing sector, at 3,669,600 jobs, increased employment by 3,600. Job gains were seen in professional and business services (up 6,000), trade, transportation, and utilities (up 1,300), other services (up 900), financial activities (up 400), and information (up 200). Employment declines occurred in leisure and hospitality (down 4,300) and educational and health services (down 900).

Government employment, at 754,400, lost 100 jobs. Losses in local (1,600) and federal (200) government surpassed gains in state government (up 1,700).

Connie Wehrkamp, communications director for Gov. John Kasich’s re-election campaign, touted the improvement of the jobs situation from that of the governor’s predecessor.

“Ted Strickland oversaw the loss of more than 350,000 private sector jobs and Gov. Kasich has spent the past three-and-a-half years cleaning up the Democrats' economic mess,” she said. “Gov. Kasich's efforts to balance the budget, cut taxes by more than $3 billion, and improve our business climate has allowed Ohio's private sector to create over a quarter million new jobs and our unemployment rate now sits at its lowest level since April 2007. The job isn't done, but clearly Gov. Kasich is working for Ohio.”

The Ohio Democratic Party’s chairman, Chris Redfern, in a statement issued following the release of the unemployment data said while nationally the job rate is better than before the Great Recession, Ohio still has more than 140,000 jobs to regain, the fifth largest “jobs deficit” in the nation. “Each month we see more evidence that under John Kasich, our economy, our job growth and our paychecks continue to lag behind the rest of the nation. Kasich’s policies of shifting the tax burden onto working families while gutting our schools and communities do not work for middle class Ohioans," Redfern said.