Legislative Budget Office of the Legislative Service Commission
YTD payroll employment gains averaged 205,000 per month, down from 223,000 per
month on average in all of 2018. The rate of increase in payroll employment this year through
April is equivalent to a 1.6% annual rate, about matching the pace of employment growth since
recovery began from the 2007-2009 recession. Employment rose in April in professional and
business services, construction, health care, and social assistance. Changes in other industry
sectors were relatively small. Average hourly earnings rose 3.2% in the latest 12 months.
The number of people counted as unemployed declined in April to 5.8 million. Of these,
.2 million had been unemployed for more than six months, one of the lowest levels since
007. Total employment as a share of the population among persons from 25 through 54 years
of age, sometimes referred to as the prime working age group, has been in a 79.7% to 79.9%
range in the past seven months, the highest since early 2008 and approaching the all-time peak
of 81.9% in 2000.
Real GDP rose at a 3.2% annual rate in this year’s first quarter, following 2.9% growth in
all of 2018, strongest since 2015 and before that since 2006. First quarter growth was relatively
healthy despite the partial federal government shutdown through late January. Consumer
spending growth slowed to only a 1.2% annual rate, but strengthened late in the quarter.
Residential fixed investment fell for the fifth straight quarter. Business fixed investment grew
for the ninth straight quarter, and businesses added to inventories at the highest rate in nearly
four years. Export growth rose in the quarter while imports contracted. Inflation as measured
by the GDP price index slowed to only a 0.6% annual rate, lowest in three years.
In contrast with real GDP, industrial production fell in this year’s first quarter, at a 0.3%
annual rate. Manufacturing contracted at a 1.1% annual rate, with declines in several industry
groups, notably in motor vehicles and parts, down at a 12.8% annual rate in the quarter
following 5.5% growth during CY 2018. According to the Institute for Supply Management
March. Deliveries, production, and employment all rose in April according to the ISM.
ISM), activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April, although at a slower rate than in
The CPI rose 0.4% in March to 1.9% higher than a year earlier. Gasoline prices rose 6.5%
from February to March. The sub-index of the CPI that excludes prices for energy and food rose
personal consumption expenditures, rose 0.2% in March to 1.5% higher than its year-earlier level.
.1% in March to 2.0% higher than in March 2018. A related inflation measure, the price index for
The Ohio Economy
In March, Ohio’s unemployment rate edged down from 4.6% in February to 4.4%, the
lowest level since August 2001. The state’s unemployment rate in March was higher than the
U.S. unemployment rate. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8% in March, unchanged from
February, and 4.0% in March of last year. The number of unemployed workers in Ohio was
58,000 in March, 7,000 fewer than in February, and 1,000 fewer than in March of last year.
Ohio’s total nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 6,300 or
.1% in March from the revised total in February, following a decrease in February. In March,
increases in jobs were widespread among industries. Jobs in the private service-producing
industries increased by 5,900; most employment gains were in educational and health services
financial activities (+1,000) while employment in trade, transportation, and utilities decreased
by 1,600. The goods-producing industries gained 300 jobs, with employment gains in
+2,600), leisure and hospitality (+2,100), professional and business services (+1,200), and
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