Tuesday, September 2, 2003

U.S. recession hit Ohio hard


State jobless rate rose faster than national average

By James McNair
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio suffered almost twice the U.S. decline in employment after the recession began in March 2001, a report released this weekend by an economic research group in Cleveland said.

The group, Policy Matters Ohio, said payroll employment in Ohio fell 3.3 percent from March 2001 to March 2003, compared with the national drop of 1.8 percent. Most of the state's job loss, it said, occurred in manufacturing industries, which had 118,500 fewer jobs at the end of the two-year span.

"In terms of job loss, this recession has been worse for the nation than the one that began in July 1990, but it has been significantly worse for Ohio," said Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio. "Ohio hemorrhaged 185,000 jobs between 2000 and 2002. Only California and New York have lost more jobs."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Ohio as having 383,300 unemployed civilians as of July, up 10 percent from a year ago.

The state had an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent in July, compared with the nation's 6.2 percent.

Among Ohio Policy Matters' other findings:

• Ohio's gross state product fell 0.9 percent from 2000 to 2001, worse than all but six states.

• Although unionized workers account for only 16.7 percent of the Ohio work force, down from 25.1 percent in 1983, they earn 30.5 percent more than their non-union counterparts - an average of $15.95 an hour versus $12.22.

• In 2002, 35.1 percent of Ohioans exhausted their unemployment benefits before finding work, the highest rate in 19 years.

"Ohio should improve its long-term state fiscal policy, work to stimulate the economy, maintain government spending, demand federal fiscal relief and use innovative approaches to shelter families and communities from the downtown," Hanauer said.

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To read the full report, go to http://www.policymattersohio.org/sowo_03.htm

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E-mail jmcnair@enquirer.com




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