Ohio’s economic leaders remain cautiously optimistic in monthly financial report

The Ohio Burgee. Photo from Flickr.

Ohio’s monthly financial report showed growth in several categories, but the state’s financial managers remained cautiously optimistic.

The October numbers for unemployment, revenue growth and economic recovery were released recently by the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.

“October revenues continued to perform at a greater level than would normally be expected from an economy which is still in the process of recovery,” the report stated.

As of November 4, Ohio’s “back-to-normal” index, an analysis created by Moody’s Analytics and CNN, determined the state’s recovery was at 85.7%, just above the national recovery of 80%.

“In recent weeks, the pace of economic recovery has leveled off,” according to the financial report.

The Office of Budget and Management said employment increases continued for the sixth straight month statewide. But October increases were smaller than the increases made previously.

Non-farm payroll employment increased less than a percent to 5.2 million jobs last month.

Job gains were highest in leisure and hospitality sector, which went up by 12,400 jobs in the last month. Increases in professional and business services were followed by trade, transportation and utilities; government; manufacturing; and education and health services.

“Even with these gains, employment in all sectors were below September 2019 levels due to the economic effects of the pandemic,” the OBM stated.

Nationally, professional and business services added 208,000 jobs in October, but about half of those were temporary positions, and the job category remains more than 1 million jobs below February levels.

The government sector lost 268,000 jobs in the last month, with the largest decline in federal government jobs (138,000).

“This large decline in employment was attributed to the reduction of temporary Census 2020 employees,” the OBM report stated.

Ohio’s unemployment rate decreased by half a percentage point, to 8.4%. National unemployment stands at 6.9% for the month of October, a 1% decline from September.

Also nationally, the unemployment rate for the Black population stood at 10.8%, the Hispanic rate at 8.8%, and the Asian rate at 7.6%. Unemployment for whites was lower than the national and state average, at 6%.

In the region, auto dealers had strong sales in August and September, but “general merchandisers and apparel retailers indicated that sales flattened out during that time,” according to the report. Economic conditions in the region also included labor shortages “as workers chose not to return to the labor force.”

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