The Ohio Economy in March, A Report by Buckeye Institute

Buckeye Institute’s “Ohio By The Numbers” March report compares Ohio to other states in overall private sector job growth over several distinct time spans. The goal is to illustrate Ohio’s overall economic trajectory over the past 22 years while capturing its specific performance during both boom and bust cycles as well as its current recovery.

The periods analyzed are: from 1990 until the present day, from peak employment in 2000 through the present day and from the beginning of the current decade to the present day.

Ohio lost 8,300 private sector jobs in March and fell to 23rd nationally in terms of private sector job growth since January 2010, growing at a 3.4 percent rate (top ranked North Dakota grew 15.8 percent over the same time span). Meanwhile, Ohio continued to rank 47th for private sector job growth since January of 1990, growing at 5.9 percent (top ranked Nevada grew 82.9 percent over the same time span).

Assuming the “Best Case Recovery” scenario of a private sector growth rate similar to the 1990s boom, Ohio will not recover to peak employment of 4.85 million, which was reached in March 2000, until at least March 2017. It is more likely that peak employment will not return until the early 2020s.

As for individual industry sectors, only Professional and Business Services and Education and Health Services have more people employed in them than in either 1990 or 2000.

Additionally, the report shows that Forced Union states (which includes Ohio and most of its neighbors with the recent exception of Indiana which became a worker freedom state in February) had a private sector growth rate far below Worker Freedom states. Since 1990, Worker Freedom states’ private sector jobs grew at a 36 percent rate vs. only 13 percent for Forced Union states. Even during the decade from 2000-2010, which included the tech bubble burst of 2000 and the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009, Worker Freedom states gained jobs for a minimal growth of around 0.1 percent while Forced Union states lost 5 percent. Since 2010, Worker Freedom states also outperformed Forced Union states, growing at a 4.1 percent rate vs. only 3.4 percent.

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