Ohio’s state unemployment rate is at an 18 year low even after General Motors closing down its Lordstown factory.
The Buckeye state’s unemployment dropped from 4.6 percent in February to 4.4 percent in March. The last time Ohio’s unemployment reached 4.4 percent back was in August of 2001. Despite this decrease in unemployment, Ohio is still behind the national average of 3.8 percent.
The 0.2 percent shift from was partly the result of a reduction of 7,000 citizens unemployed, bringing the state unemployment from 265,000 to 258,000 between February and March. This growth is slightly contingent on the state’s strong agricultural and seasonal workforce.
Andrew J. Kidd, PhD and economist with The Buckeye Institute, stated in on Friday that “spring has brought a rebirth to job growth in Ohio with 6,200 new private sector jobs, a falling unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, and a growing labor force participation rate of 62.7 percent. All these are positive signs for Ohio’s economy.”
With a labor force participation rate of 62.7 percent, Ohio is quickly catching up to the national average of 63 percent. The closing of the General Motors Lordstown factory did some damage, contributing to a drop of 2,400 in manufacturing, but it was not enough to hold back the booming economy of the Buckeye State. Trade, transportation, and utilities also lost 1,600 workers, but both losses were made up for the by the increase of 7,600 in the goods-producing industries.
This news, although great for Ohioans, did not live up to 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-OH-13) expectations on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week. As Joe Scarborough stated, Ohio stood strong behind Barack Obama in both elections, but by 2016 swung hard right for President Donald Trump. Ryan stated confidently that the Ohio voters supported Trump because he spoke to their core values and needs.
“I am going to open up the steel mills, I am going to open up the coal mines, I am going to get you back to work.” Ryan said.
But Ryan, referring to Trump’s actions in Ohio, said “he torched the joint,” and did nothing for Ohio citizens. Despite Ryan’s claims about Trump, construction added 3,000 jobs and mining and logging added 400 jobs.
General Motors was propped up by Obama with a bailout that ended up costing the federal government $11.2 billion. While the rest of Ohio has grown and added jobs, General Motors transferred 400 of 1,400 employees to other facilities, and left the rest to find employment elsewhere.
“While this month’s rebound in job growth is good news, state policymakers must remain cautious about increasing burdens that could harm the economy—be they electricity rate increases or overspending in the state budget,” Kidd said. “Proven pro-growth policies are what are needed to ensure job creation continues.”
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Mitch Shirley is a reporter for The Ohio Star and Battleground State News. Emails tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Factory Worker” by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd.