Analyst: Ohio jobs recovery even slowly than previously thought

Economic Research Analyst George Zeller said there were large downward revisions to previously released job figures for 2011 and 2012 which means Ohio’s recovery is even slower than he previously indicated.

Zeller, a 1967 Salem High School graduate based in Cleveland, said that determination is based on figures from Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

He explained that “massive downward revisions” were made on Friday and covered a very large number of prior months in the Current Employment Statistics (CES) monthly estimates of Ohio employment.

Zeller noted that the revisions are made every year when the January data is released in a process called the annual benchmark revision to the CES.

The data is compared with more accurate, but delayed figures from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) complete count of jobs, he said, adding it took a long time to make all of these revisions because they revert to 2009, and the seasonally adjusted model had to be revised every month going back to 2005.

“The highlights following the revision, are twofold,” Zeller said, noting that first off, a new streak of below-average job growth has extended from last August through January with job growth below the national average.

Part of that new streak came from revisions to previous months, and part of it came from the weak growth figure for January 2013 that was released Friday by ODJFS, Zeller said.

Secondly, jobs losses during early years of the 2007-2009 national recession have been revised substantially upward.

In 2008, the state lost 165,400 jobs and in 2009 that jumped to 250,800 lost jobs. The figures are higher than in previous months, prior to Friday’s downward revisions, he said.

“So, the hole that we dug from the extremely deep 2007-2009 national recession was much deeper than was previously reported by ODJFS and the Bureau of Labor Statistics until last week’s big downward revisions,” Zeller said.

For months, Zeller has said Ohios’ recovery is not moving fast enough and with the revisions, he repeated that.

“We very badly need to speed up our rate of recovery, just so that we can dig out of the deep hole of job losses that we previously suffered,” he said, but the problem is that Friday’s gain of 3,800 jobs in Ohio is growth is just too slow.

“We urgently need to speed up the rate of recovery.”

The numbers also show that part of the drag on the slow rate of recovery exists because of continued losses in government employment, finance and insurance, and a handful of other industries.

Those losses have diminished the role of the manufacturing job growth that continued in January, which is driving the recovery that Ohio is in, Zeller said.