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Ohio’s Unemployment Rate at Lowest Level Since May 2019

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

Tue Jun 21 2022
Economic Insights graphic

Key Economic Insights

  • U.S.: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points as consumer prices rose at the fastest rate since December 1981.
  • Ohio: Unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in May, the lowest level since May 2019; labor force participation rate rose to 62% in May, the highest level since March 2020.

U.S. Insights

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points, the largest increase since 1994, in an aggressive move to combat inflation. Fed officials significantly cut their outlook for 2022 economic growth, forecasting a 1.7% gain in GDP, down from 2.8% forecasted in March.  The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at an 8.6% annual rate in May, the highest increase since December 1981. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose at a 6% annualized rate. The Producer Price Index (PPI) increased 0.8% in May and is up 10.8% on an annualized basis. Final demand less food, energy, and trade services advanced 0.5% during the month to a 6.8% annualized rate.

The U.S. stock market officially entered a bear-market, with the S&P 500 down more than 20% off the highs set in January 2022. Investors remain concerned over the potential for an economic slowdown as the Federal Reserve continues a process of quantitative tightening and interest rate hikes.  U.S. small-business confidence edged down in May as worries about high inflation persisted. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell to 93.1 during the month, with the share of owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months hitting a record low.

The NAHB Homebuilder Sentiment Index fell for the sixth straight month in June to the lowest level since June 2020. The U.S. housing market shows signs of cooling amid rising mortgage rates, with housing starts falling to a 13-month low in May and permits for new builds falling 7% during the month.  U.S. industrial production rose 0.2% in May. Output has increased in every month of the year so far, with an average monthly gain of nearly 0.8%. Capacity utilization edged up to 79.0% during the month, up from 78.9% in April. U.S. business inventories rose 1.2% in April amid a moderation in sales growth. U.S. retail sales fell 0.3% in May, marking the first monthly decline this year.

Ohio Employment & Economic Insights

As we reflect on the Juneteenth holiday, JobsOhio has funded more than 200 small companies owned by underrepresented populations since 2019, through the Inclusion Grant program. Black Tech Week will be held in Cincinnati July 18-22.

Ohio’s unemployment rate reached the lowest level since May 2019, decreasing to 3.9% in May from 4.0% in April. Nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 4,800 over the month, and the number of workers unemployed in Ohio fell to 226,000, down from 233,000 in April. The number of unemployed has decreased by 86,000 in the past 12 months. The labor force participation rate in Ohio rose to 62.0% during the month, the highest level since March 2020.

Cleveland State University’s Energy Policy Center found that total investment in Ohio’s shale energy sector was approximately $2.3B in the first half of 2021, with cumulative investment reaching $95.3B.  Ohio has the potential to become a regional hydrogen hub.

Forbes interviewed JobsOhio CEO, J.P. Nauseef, in a Futures in Focus podcast episode, discussing the success of JobsOhio’s unique economic development model, and the future of reshoring in the U.S.  A new report from The Reshoring Initiative shows that efforts to bring back U.S. manufacturing jobs and expand foreign direct investment (FDI) resulted in a record 261,000 jobs nationwide last year. The total number of reshored and FDI-created jobs since 2010 now sits at more than 1.3M. Nearly 66,000 (more than 5%) of those jobs are in Ohio, according to the study. Read more about JobsOhio’s reshoring initiatives here.  Looking ahead, JobsOhio is a Diamond Sponsor of the 2022 SelectUSA Investment Summit next week and is featured by The Korea Society in a program called, “Catching the K-Investment Wave in the USA.” 

In May, the state collected $105.3M over the official forecast. According to the Office of Budget and Management, the state’s FY22 tax collections are now $2.55B over the estimate with one month left in the fiscal year.  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded a $6.6M grant to the City of Dayton for infrastructure upgrades to the Dayton International Airport.

75 Ohio meat processors will receive grants totaling approximately $15M to help them expand capacity and meet the growing demand as part of the second round of funding offered through the Ohio Meat Processing Grant Program. The program aims to help strengthen the local meat supply chain and reduce reliance on out-of-state meat processors. Through two rounds of funding, meat processors in 53 of Ohio’s 88 counties have received grants totaling nearly $25M.

Ohio Company News

  • Cincinnati Children’s Ranked No. 3 in the Nation in U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals Rankings.
  • Nationwide Children’s Ranked No. 9 in the Nation in U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals Rankings.
  • Procter & Gamble signed a multiyear deal with Microsoft to use its Azure cloud computing platform to digitize and integrate data from more than 100 manufacturing sites around the globe.
  • First Solar’s Perrysburg and Lake Township manufacturing facilities earned Platinum status in a Responsible Business Alliance Validated Assessment Program audit.
  • The Sherwin-Williams Company will purchase Gross & Perthun GmbH, a Germany-based developer, manufacturer, and distributor of coatings, for $50M.
  • Behr Process Corporation plans to bring a new manufacturing and distribution facility to Licking County.
  • The LeBron James Family Foundation announced plans for the I Promise HealthQuarters, a community-focused primary healthcare center offering medical, dental, mental, and optometry services in Akron.
  • 80 Acres Farms will increase its production output by 700% within the next 18 months with two new 200,000 SF indoor vertical farms in Boone County, Kentucky and Covington, Georgia.
  • Textum will open a new $4.7M facility in Miami Township. The project will create 22 new jobs and will add manufacturing capabilities to the company's existing sales office.
  • Boston Group will relocate its Massachusetts-based HQ and Ohio-based manufacturing facility into a combined building in Ravenna.
  • Stonemont Financial Group has acquired 39 acres of land near Medina to build a new industrial commerce park. The development, called Westfield Commerce Park, will bring 450,000 SF of industrial space.
  • Arelion has deployed a new point-of-presence at H5’s 351,000 SF data center in downtown Cleveland.
  • Branch Insurance received $147M in Series C funding, valuing the Columbus-based company at $1.05B.
  • READY Robotics announced a strategic investment from chip-maker NVIDIA.
  • Delta Air Lines will resume nonstop flights to Paris from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky in August.
  • Alaska Airlines has added daily nonstop service to Seattle from Cleveland Hopkins, starting June 16.
  • Breeze Airways announced a new nonstop route to Las Vegas from Akron-Canton, beginning in October.
  • Ohio University’s Innovation Center supported 249 jobs that generated an estimated $18M in employee compensation and $49.7M in economic output in Athens County in 2021, according to a new report.
  • Cleveland Kitchen closed a $19M Series A funding round which will support its acquisition of Sonoma Brinery and its 50 employees in California.
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