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Sluggish job growth in Ohio last month

Ohio added 5,300 workers in July, regaining slightly less than two-thirds of the jobs lost in June, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The state’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.2 percent.

The modest job growth last month provided more evidence of a fitful economic recovery.

In the last year, Ohio has added jobs in half of the months, and lost them in the other half, and at times the employment swings have been dramatic.

Ohio led the nation in job growth in May, and then posted some of the worst job losses the following month.

“It is a national phenomenon — the Department of Labor’s payroll surveys have been really volatile in recent months, and a lot of states have seen large increases and decreases month to month,” said Angela Terez, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. “You can’t read too much into one month’s data, and you really have to look at the long-term trend.”

Nonfarm employment in the state increased by 0.1 percent last month, after June’s employment figures were revised upwards, according to state data. Initial job figures released last month estimated Ohio lost 12,500 workers in June, but that was revised to a loss of 8,400.

Last month, the state’s strongest job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+4,500 workers); trade, transportation and utilities (+2,500); manufacturing (+2,400); and other services (+2,100).

The largest losses were concentrated in government.

Local government employers shed 3,900 workers, while federal payrolls shrank by 500 workers. State government added 1,100 workers.

In the private sector, information companies cut 1,200 workers, while professional and business services providers cut 1,000 workers.

The state’s job outlook remains positive, but it remains a slow recovery, Terez said.

“If you look at where we are now, and where we were three years ago, things are a lot better,” she said. “Ohio has added 149,000 jobs since January 2011, and that’s good news.”

But Ohio’s 12-month growth rate is 0.7 percent, half of what it was in July of 2012, said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher for Policy Matters Ohio.

“The pace of recovery, particularly over the last year, has been far too slow,” she said.

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