Ohio gained 7,600 jobs in April, but lost 21,700 jobs in March — an even larger number than was initially reported.
The state lost 1,300 more jobs in March than initially estimated, according to state jobs data released Friday.
The new March employment number is “an even larger disaster than was reported last month,” said George Zeller, a Cleveland researcher who analyzes economic data for Northeast Ohio policymakers.
Zeller noted that a month ago, the state estimated that Ohio lost 20,400 jobs in March — more than any other state.
Zeller said the new numbers show Ohio’s rate of job growth continues to lag behind the rest of the country. Ohio’s rate is 0.09 percent; the national rate is 1.57 percent.
“Ohio’s growth rate is hardly different from zero growth,” Zeller said. “That 1.57 national rate is also too slow, but we’re way below that.”
Zeller said April marked the 10th consecutive month that Ohio’s job growth rate was below the national average.
Meanwhile, Ohio’s manufacturing employment continues to be a bright spot.
Of the 7,600 new jobs in April, 2,400 were in manufacturing, according to the seasonally adjusted data.
Manufacturing jobs are seen as a key to a continued recovery as they produce spinoff jobs in related industries.
Ohio’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, dropped slightly to 7 percent in April, according to the Friday report from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
That’s after being stuck at 7.1 percent the two previous months, state data showed.
Zeller was not cheered by the decline, noting that 3,000 people are estimated to have dropped out of the state’s labor force in April.
The unemployment rate does not count the number of people without jobs — only the number of people who are looking but can’t find work.
In April 2012, the Ohio jobless rate was 7.4 percent.
Ohio leaders have said repeatedly that the state’s economy and its job market are getting stronger, but the process will be slow.
Ohio’s unemployment rate peaked at 10.6 percent during the last half of 2009 and early 2010 before beginning its trek downward. January marked the first time the rate failed to decline or at least remain steady since July 2011.
Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment totaled 5,183,200 in April.
That’s up 7,600 jobs from the revised March figure of 5,175,600.
Service-sector jobs increased by 7,400 in April, while private goods-producing industries — including manufacturing — gained a net 800 jobs.
The 2,400 increase in manufacturing jobs offset losses totaling 1,600 in construction, mining and logging.
Within the service sector, employment increased by 5,300 jobs in leisure and hospitality. There also were gains in trade, transportation and utilities, and educational and health services. Meanwhile, there were job losses in professional and business services, financial activities and information.
Government employment, meanwhile, decreased by 600 jobs in April, with losses in federal government and local government outweighing gains in state government. Zeller noted that 14,000 government jobs were lost from April 2012 to April 2013.
The jobs numbers come from the latest survey of business establishments conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, in conjunction with Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.