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Ohio reverses positive jobs trend, records second worst in U.S.

After leading the nation in job creation in May, Ohio in June lost more jobs than every state except Tennessee, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state’s nonfarm payrolls shrank by 12,500 workers last month, which erased part of the 32,200 jobs gained the prior month. In May, Ohio added more workers than it had in any month in the last 14 years.

“The data from the payroll survey in 2013 has been very volatile, as I am sure (people) have noticed,” said Benjamin Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. “We have had months with large increases in employment, and we’ve had months with sizable decreases in employment, and we don’t have a really good answer for why that is happening.”

Ohio’s unemployment rate in June also rose 0.2 percent to 7.2 percent, but the increase was partly caused by more people joining the workforce.

Ohio’s labor market has been sporadic this year.

Ohio added just 6,200 jobs in April, and then lost 21,700 in March, which was the worst decline in the nation.

But then employers in the state ramped up hiring in May, and payrolls expanded by more than 0.6 percent, federal data show.

But the nonfarm workforce contracted last month by a larger amount than every state but Tennessee, which lost 16,500 jobs.

California added the most new jobs (+30,200) and Pennsylvania ranked second in job creation (+19,100).

Of course, Ohio is the seventh largest state in the country, and the largest percentage declines in employment in June were in Tennessee and South Dakota (both shrank -0.5 percent).

In Ohio, the largest job losses occurred in government (-3,700 jobs), manufacturing (-3,000) and education and health services (-3,000).

The end of the school year likely led to employers in local government and educational services to cut workers, Johnson said.

The sector that bucked the trend was leisure and hospitality, which added 1,400 workers and posted the third consecutive month of job gains.

The employment estimates often fluctuate from month to month, and the new figures do not suggest that the economic recovery has been derailed, Johnson said. More Ohioans were employed in June than were in June 2012, and it was the third straight month of year-over-year job growth.

But the recovery has been extremely slow moving.

“The bigger concern from today’s data is that Ohio has added only 16,000 jobs over the last twelve months (June 2012- June 2013), a very slow 0.3 percent growth rate,” said Hannah Halbert, policy liaison with Policy Matters Ohio.

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