This Labor Day, there are a record low number of Ohioans in the labor force—fewer than there have been since October 1978. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports just 59 percent of Americans 16 and over have declared that they are part of the labor force; in Ohio, that figure is just under 63 percent, a 34-year low. That’s not the only thing that has the progressives at Policy Matters Ohio worried. Amy Hanauer says the group’s annual Labor Day report also shows the state lost more than 2.3 percent of its jobs since 2005, while the country added 3.8 percent in that same period.
State and national jobless numbers are closely watched as economic indicators, and the unemployment figures can also give useful clues for those seeking their first full-time job.
Last month, 323,000 Ohio adults were actively seeking work and not able to find a job, and the unemployment rate crept up for the first time in several months. The figure includes recent high school and college graduates looking for that first job, or an entry level job.
Thousands of civilian workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are being offered the option to retire early or take a buyout. The buyouts are an effort to prepare for a cut of 372 positions at the base this fall.
Many of the positions to be cut aren’t currently filled, and by offering early retirement and buyout options, Wright-Patt officials hope to move those who stay into open jobs elsewhere on the base.
“We just want to make sure that we take care of our people, that’s our key objective,” says Wright-Patt spokesman Daryl Mayer.
The unemployment rate in Ohio dipped to 6.1 percent in March—the lowest it’s been since 2008. It’s down from 6.5 percent in February, and well below the national rate of 6.7 percent. But those percentages can be deceiving—March was also a slow month for job growth, and the labor force once again saw a downward tick month over month, with about 11,000 less people either working or looking for work in March than in February.
Several Dayton groups are asking Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio’s 10th district to help renew emergency unemployment benefits. A bipartisan Senate bill expected to pass this week has found little support in the House.