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Ohio Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since November 2019

Tue Mar 15 2022

This report is a summary of third-party economic research and perspectives to foster communication with business and economic development stakeholders.

Key Economic Insights

  • U.S.: The unemployment rate fell to 3.8% as CPI rose to 7.9% in February.
  • Ohio: Development Projects Will Support $1.4B in Investments in Ohio; New Projects Expected to Create More Than $117M in Investments across the state.

U.S. Insights

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 678,000 in February, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%. Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, healthcare, and construction. The labor force participation rate (62.3%) and average hourly earnings changed little over the month. U.S. job openings totaled 11.263M in the first month of 2022, down from 11.4M in December, which marked a record in data going back to 2001. The number of quits in January edged down slightly to 4.3M, and the quits rate decreased to 2.8% from December's record high of 3%.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 7.9% in February compared to last year, marking the fastest annual jump since 1982. Core CPI rose 6.4% over last year, also setting the fastest rate since 1982. The NFIB Optimism Index decreased to 95.7 in February. 26% of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, the highest reading since Q3 of 1981. Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in February, as ISM Manufacturing PMI rose to 58.6 during the month, up from 57.6 in January. ISM Services PMI fell to 56.5 during the month, down from 59.9 in January but remaining in expansion.

Supply chain issues top the list of concerns for small business owners over the last six months, but they see those pressures easing by mid-year. In the meantime, inflation pressures are expected to continue to impact these business owners, with a majority planning to further raise their own prices in the near term, according to the latest PNC semi-annual Economic Outlook survey of small and mid-size business owners and executives.

Ohio Employment & Economic Insights

Ohio’s economy is showing signs of strong recovery. Ohio's unemployment rate was 4.3% in January 2022, down from 4.5% in December 2021. Nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 18,600 over the month, and the number of unemployed workers fell to 246,000 from 256,000 in December. The labor force participation rate was 61.5%, unchanged from December 2021.

The Ohio Manufacturing Association (OMA) 2022 report “Ohio Manufacturing Counts” highlights that Ohio manufacturing is responsible for nearly 18% of Ohio’s private-sector GDP; more than 650,000 Ohio jobs; an annual payroll of $42B; and more than $45B in exports to 209 countries and territories.

Site Selection ranked Ohio #2 in the nation for total projects overall for the second consecutive year. Ohio also ranked #4 in projects per capita to achieve a top-five ranking in both categories. Ohio remains a leader in the healthcare sector with Newsweek ranking Cleveland Clinic the #2 hospital in the world out of over 2,200 hospitals in 27 countries.

Dayton is setting the stage for continued innovation and leadership in the aerospace and defense sector, with the Dayton Development Coalition announcing the region's “Wright-Patt 2030 Strategy", an effort to grow and retain missions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The Cleveland Innovation Project (CIP) released an annual progress update showing that in 2021 the Greater Cleveland area saw more than $800M in funding from private, philanthropic and public sources that helped create 868 new STEM jobs.

Ohio recently passed SB 105, removing hurdles for minority, women, and veteran entrepreneurs, as its continued efforts to be the nation’s most business-friendly state. The Ohio Bureau of Work’s Compensation announced its fourth straight reduction in worker’s compensation premiums since 2019. Ohio’s private employers will pay nearly $106M less in premiums in the next fiscal year due to a 10% rate reduction.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) approved assistance for six economic development projects across the state, which are set to create 1,937 new jobs and retain 2,597 jobs statewide. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $104M in new payroll and spur more than $117M in investments.

Ohio Company News

  • Total Quality Logistics expects to create 1,000 full-time positions, generating $60M in new payroll and retaining $162.8M in existing payroll as a result of its expansion in Union Township, Milford, West Chester Township, and Cincinnati.
  • Kroger expects to create 400 full-time positions, generating $18M in new annual payroll as a result of the company’s new 270,000-SF state-of-the-art robotic customer fulfillment center in Oakwood Village.
  • Walgreen Co. expects to create 200 full-time positions, generating $8.5M in new annual payroll as a result of the company’s new project in Canal Winchester.
  • Alexander Mann Solutions Corporation expects to create 153 full-time positions, generating $9.3M in new annual payroll and retaining $11M in existing payroll as a result of the company’s expansion project in Cleveland.
  • ECS Tuning LLC expects to create 98 full-time positions, generating $4.1M in new annual payroll and retaining $14.9M in existing payroll as a result of the company’s expansion project in Wadsworth.
  • Brennan-Eberly Team Sports Inc. expects to create 86 full-time positions, generating $4.1M in new annual payroll and retaining $4.7M in existing payroll as a result of the company’s expansion project in Swanton Township and Holland.
  • Polaris will grow its Wilmington distribution center with a 165,000 SF expansion and 20-25 new jobs over three years.
  • Breeze Airways continues to expand its low-fare nonstop flights in Ohio with routes to Providence, Jacksonville, and Savannah from the John Glenn International Airport and Nashville and Hartford from the Akron-Canton Airport,
  • Avery Dennison Corporation is making a multi-million-dollar investment in its Dayton-area facility. Investments include building upgrades, updating and improving offices, collaboration spaces, equipment, software, systems and automation infrastructure, and constructing a new customer experience center.
  • Chipotle’s new 130,000 SF corporate office in Columbus has opened; the new center of operations is looking to fill positions for the roughly 400 employees that will work there.
  • Amazon is partnering with Ohio Dominican University, Columbus State Community College, and eight other Ohio education providers as part of an expanded program to provide "fully funded college tuition" to its hourly employees.
  • The University of Akron was ranked #1 in world for polymer science and plastics engineering.
  • Orthobrain in Richfield secured $9M in Series A funding led by CareCapital, one of the largest investors in the dental care industry.


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