Ohio’s unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 7.1 percent even as the number of people working in the state dropped by more than 20,000.
Ohio’s jobless rate remained below the national average of 7.6 percent.
The March rate of 7.1 percent was unchanged from the revised February rate, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The rate was 7.4 percent a year ago.
While the state unemployment rate was essentially unchanged from a month ago, the report released Friday continues to show a troubled jobs market in Ohio, a Northeast Ohio economic research analyst said.
“I was somewhat startled by how bad the figure was,” said Cleveland-based George Zeller.
The state reported that there were 20,400 fewer people counted as working in March at 5,176,900 compared to 5,197,300 in February. Most of the job losses were in the service industry.
Those losses wiped out job gains from earlier in the year, he said. In addition, Ohio’s job growth rate continues to lag the nation’s job growth rate, Zeller said.
He said his analysis continues to show that Ohio has yet to recover from job losses that started in 2000.
The number of people counted as unemployed in March was 406,000, up from 405,000 in February. The numbers do not count people who have stopped looking for work or who are working part time but want a full-time job.
Jobs fell by 1,400 to 851,300 in Ohio’s goods-producing industries.
Manufacturing jobs increased by 1,800 and mining and logging added 100. But construction jobs dropped by 3,300.
In the service industry, leisure and hospitality jobs fell by 6,000; professional and business services dropped 4,300; educational and health services was down 3,700; other services fell 1,600 and information dropped 500. Local government jobs fell by 3,600 and federal government jobs fell by 1,600. State government jobs held steady.
Trade, transportation and utilities added 600 jobs, while financial activities jobs grew by 100.
The single piece of good news in Friday’s report was the rise in manufacturing jobs, with all of that in durable goods production, Zeller said.
“Overall, this is a highly discouraging employment report for March,” Zeller said. “We badly need to speed up Ohio’s rate of recovery from the 2007-2009 national Great Recession and also the more lengthy 2000-2011 Ohio labor market recession.”