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Ohio’s unemployment higher than national rate for first time in 3 years

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(The Center Square) – Ohio’s job market continued to cool in April, rising above the national jobless rate for the first time in more than three years.

Ohio’s unemployment rate rose to 4% in April, up from 3.8% in March and above the national average of 3.9%.

Also, the state’s labor force participation rate remained at 61.8%, according to figures released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“This continues a trend seen over the past year, with the national average climbing from 3.4% to 3.9% and Ohio’s climbing from 3.4% to 4%. This increase in unemployment comes as the labor force participation – currently at 61.8% – has remained steady over the past year, indicating that fewer people looking for work are finding jobs,” said Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center and vice president of policy at The Buckeye Institute.

In 2021, the state’s unemployment rate was at January 2020 levels and slightly above the national average.

Hederman said the state added 500 jobs in April, but the household and payroll surveys showed a weakening employment situation.

“Although Ohio’s job market set employment records over the past year, it has now clearly cooled as higher interest rates and inflation take their toll on Ohio’s families and businesses,” Hederman said. “As the state begins to prepare Ohio’s upcoming budget, policymakers should continue efforts to reduce the overall tax burden on Ohioans in a sustainable and responsible manner that also constrains spending, protects taxpayers, and keeps Ohioans working.”

Other economists said the Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates at a 23-year high imposes the cost of inflation on individuals and is having a stronger impact as the job market slows in the state.

“While 3.4% inflation isn’t so high on its own, it’s coming on top of already high prices from COVID inflation,” Policy Matters Ohio Economist Michael Shields said. “Lower inflation doesn’t mean prices go back down; it just means price increases slow down. And for low-paid Ohioans, the inflation they face is higher than the overall rate because so much of their spending is on food and housing, where prices grew faster than other goods.”

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