Legislative Budget Office of the Legislative Service Commission
The Ohio Economy
Ohio’s nonfarm payroll employment continued to increase while the unemployment rate
decreased to 8.4% in September from 8.9% in August. In September of last year, Ohio’s
unemployment rate was 4.1%. The number of unemployed workers in Ohio was 472,000 in
September, 38,000 fewer than in August and 232,000 more than in September of last year. The
state’s unemployment rate in September was higher than the U.S. unemployment rate, which
Ohio’s total nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 41,500 or
.8% in September from the revised total in August. Employment increased over the past five
consecutive months since a low point in April. In September, employment in private
service-providing industries, goods-producing industries, and government increased by 34,900,
state and federal governments.
,500, and 3,100, respectively. Job gains were nearly across the board with job losses mainly in
Compared to September of last year, the state’s nonfarm payroll employment was
03,700, or 7.2% lower. Employment in private service-providing industries, goods-producing
industries, and government decreased by 298,800, 53,700, and 51,200, respectively.
Year-over-year employment losses occurred in most industries, largely in leisure and hospitality
business services (-53,800). Job gains were in federal government (+7,000) and nondurable goods
-131,000), followed by trade, transportation, and utilities (-55,100), and professional and
In September, the number of Ohioans who filed initial claims for unemployment
insurance dropped to 63,456 from 74,285, a decrease of 14.6%. Compared to September of last
year, initial claims were up 188.6%. The average weekly number of benefit recipients dropped by
5.9% in September from August but was up by 587.0% from September of last year.
The number of existing homes sold in Ohio increased by 18.1 % in September compared
to September 2019, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. From January through
September, existing home sales were 0.5% higher than the corresponding months in 2019. The
statewide sales price of homes sold in the first nine months of this year averaged $209,663 or
.0% higher than the corresponding months in 2019.
The region’s economic activity grew at a moderate pace, according to a Federal Reserve
Bank of Cleveland report. Employment picked up slightly but remained well below levels before
the pandemic. Consumer spending rose modestly. Auto sales continued strong, but general
merchandisers and apparel retailers noted flat sales. Manufacturing activity edged up
moderately but was still below the activity level before the pandemic. Residential building and
sales continued to be strong. Contacts in financial services reported mortgages and auto lending
activity continued to be strong due to persistent low interest rates, but business lending activity
was flat. Freight services picked up due to an increase in e-commerce and reopening of the
economy after disruptions related to COVID-19.
20 The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s district consists of all of Ohio, western Pennsylvania,
eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia. Comments here are derived from the
latest edition of the Beige Book, a Federal Reserve publication that summarizes reports from business and
industry contacts outside of the Federal Reserve System collected on or before October 9, 2020.
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