COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A new report from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services shows unemployment in the state remains low.
Unemployment was at 3.6% in October, compared to 3.4% in September this year.
“The rate goes up when people get off the sidelines and say ‘Hey, I want to start looking,’” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio).
Last month’s unemployment rate was the highest the state has seen since July 2023. Still, Ohio was below the national average in both months, which reached 3.9% in October. Husted said that increase in unemployment can, in part, be attributed to the UAW strike.
“But overall, we’re still adding jobs, thousands and thousands of new private sector jobs every month,” Husted said.
Overall, the state has seen an increase in employment in several sectors. These include construction, which employed 253,000 Ohioans in October for 7.5% growth in that sector compared to last year and 2.5% growth compared to September.
“It creates a little bit of anxiety for me because a lot of those people in the construction industry are retirement age,” Husted said. “If we are going to continue to grow the economy and build all these projects from Intel to Google to Amazon to Honda, and all the new things we have coming, we’re going to have to get a whole new generation of construction workforce.”
Projects like Intel have brought in several jobs, according to the lieutenant governor’s office Approximately 92% of the construction workforce on site are Ohio residents, and construction workers from 59 of Ohio’s 88 counties have contributed so far. But Husted said as the demand for the jobs grow, the state needs to produce more talent.
“That’s really what our job is right now, is to help get more apprentices, more people in our career centers,” Husted said.
According to the lieutenant governor’s office, of the more than 13,000 construction jobs posted on OhioMeansJobs.com, 9,000 of them pay $50,000 a year and 3,200 pay more than $100,000 a year.
The industry with the biggest net change is arts, entertainment and recreation. Compared to last year, the industry has seen a 23.5% increase in employment.
“That is a sign of a prosperous economy,” Husted said. “When you create the manufacturing jobs, you create the tech jobs, you create the jobs in healthcare and people begin to earn more money, that means they have more disposable income.”
Husted said more Ohioans are likely spending their disposable income on entertainment, restaurants, and leisure activities at higher rates.
“Which creates a whole new cycle of jobs,” he said. “So, prosperity creates growing prosperity across all sectors in the economy.”
Other industries are losing employees, though. The biggest loss is in ‘real estate, rental and leasing.’ Since last year, there has been a 6.10% decrease in employment, with more than 4,000 Ohioans leaving that sector.
“We have a bit of a perplexing dilemma there, and that’s due to inflation,” Husted said. “We’re going to need housing and so the interest rates are really putting a pinch on people from an inflation and financing point of view.”
Husted said he would not say he is worried about housing now, but said inflation is creating a burden.
“But here in Ohio we’ll come back,” he said. “We’ll continue to do our best, we’ll continue to produce the talent.”
So far this year, Ohio has gained 88,200 private-sector jobs, with 5,800 over the past month.