Ohio jobless rate hits nearly 50-year low

Ohio’s unemployment rate hit a nearly 50-year low in April, and the job participation rate fell, both a good sign according to economists.

The recently released jobs report from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services showed the state’s jobless rate at 3.7% and the labor force participation rate at 61.8%, up from 61.5%.

“In a sign of growing confidence, Ohioans surged into the job market, with the labor force participation rate increasing from 61.5 percent to 61.8. While both rates remain below the national average, the April jobs report is extremely good news,” said Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center and vice president of policy at The Buckeye Institute.

The 3.7% unemployment rate was down from March’s 3.8% as the state added more than 18,000 private-sector jobs last month. It’s the lowest unemployment rate since 1976, when the series for reporting unemployment began, according to Job and Family Services.

“To ensure these positive trends continue, policymakers should use the state’s record-high budget surplus and close tax loopholes to transition Ohio to a flat tax,” Hederman said. “By practicing prudent budgeting, cutting wasteful spending and eliminating needless tax breaks lawmakers can balance Ohio’s budget and create a more prosperous future for all Ohioans.”

As previously reported by The Center Square, The Buckeye Institute identified nearly $3 billion in potential savings as the General Assembly continues to work on the state’s general fund budget.

Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed spending more than $103 billion in 2024 and nearly $100 billion in 2025. By comparison, when the state closes out its current fiscal year, it will spend roughly $75 billion. The proposed new spending, according to Lawson, is unsustainable.

Greg Lawson, a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, suggested tougher audits and cross-checking Medicaid eligibility to prevent double-dipping in the program that makes up 42% of the state’s overall spending.

Lawson also suggested closing tax loopholes that reduce annual revenues by more than $11 billion to reform the state’s income tax.

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