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. WYSO’s News Director, Emily McCord, hashed out some details with economics reporter Lewis Wallace.
According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio added just 600 jobs in March. The biggest losses were in public-sector government jobs, with over 3,000 job losses from February to March, concentrated in local governments.
The City of Dayton also continues to lag way behind the state and the region in unemployment rates: unemployment was at 7.3 percent for the city in March, and Dayton’s civilian labor force has seen steady year-over-year drops since 2002. That said, an imbalance between Dayton proper and surrounding areas has existed for decades, and the last time Dayton’s unemployment rate was as low 7.3 percent was in 2001.
There were no major Dayton-area jobs announcements in the past month, although a possible 500-job call center was proposed, then withdrawn. Hiring news should be coming soon from retailers ranging from Kohl’s (hiring soon for 640 distribution center jobs) to Dollar General (opening several area stores in the coming months). And before even opening its first Dayton-area location in the works at Fairfield Commons, low-cost fashion retailer H&M is planning a location at the Dayton Mall, according to the Dayton Daily News. Finally, Good Sports, a fieldhouse and sports center planned for Huber Heights, posted the first in what the company has said could be more than 100 permanent jobs.
The Miami Valley saw few announcements better-paying jobs economic developers are pushing for in the area; those efforts have been particularly focused on high-tech manufacturing. Month-over-month, Ohio saw losses in manufacturing jobs from February to March (-3,500).