Ohio’s unemployment rate edged down to 5 percent in April from 5.1 percent in March even as employers statewide eliminated 5,700 jobs over the same period, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services announced Friday.
The biggest job losses were in construction and manufacturing, which last month shed 7,400 and 5,800 jobs, respectively, according to the jobs report. The losses offset gains in professional and business services (+6,100), and leisure and hospitality (+5,000).
Jon Keeling, a spokesman for the state jobs department, attributed the loss of construction jobs to seasonal adjustments “since it seems most construction workers were hired earlier this year.” Since December 2016, construction jobs are up by 8,200, Keeling noted.
The decrease in the manufacturing sector was largely the result of temporary layoffs by Chrysler as they shift production of the Jeep Cherokee out of Toledo to make room for the next generation Jeep Wrangler, Keeling said. Chrysler has indicated all of those jobs will return.
Overall, 288,000 Ohioans were unemployed in April, down 5,000 from 293,000 in March, according to the report, which showed the number of unemployed has increased by 5,000 in the past 12 months from 283,000.
At the same time, Ohio’s labor force — or the number of people working or actively seeking jobs — grew by 21,000, pushing the state’s labor force participation rate to 63.1 percent — slightly above the national rate of 62.9 percent in April.
“Workers enter the labor force when they have confidence in the economy, and Ohio’s labor force has been surging over the past year,” Keeling said, noting Ohio’s labor force has grown by 76,000 over the past 12 months.
The U.S. labor force grew by 12,000 last month as the national unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent, down from 4.5 percent in March.