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Economic data in Ohio ‘unfortunately weak again’

July 8, 2013
By LARRY SHIELDS - Staff Writer , Salem News

SALEM-The latest economic data is "unfortunately weak again in Ohio" according to Cleveland economic researcher George Zeller.

The data is offset slightly by a positive nationwide outlook that was somewhat better than Ohio which continues to display "still discouraging" numbers.

Zeller, a 1967 Salem High School graduate, said the state returned to a "job destruction" elevated level of new unemployment claims for the 19th consecutive week as of the week ending June 29.

Reports compiled by Zeller are designed to measure the point at which Ohio's lengthy 2000s recessionary contraction in its labor market finally comes to an end as a result of the end of job destruction within the state.

Zeller said last week's report finds that despite substantial improvement measured during the four weeks of January 2013, the lengthy 2000-2013 period of job destruction in Ohio did not come to an end. This despite improvement during all of the January and the first two weeks of February.

Since the week included the Fourth of July holiday, the new unemployment claims were released too late to be analyzed on Thursday. But updated economic indicators report on the level of new unemployment claims in both Ohio and in the nation is available on the Internet at:

Ohio previously had a very unfortunate negative streak of 21 consecutive weeks with a "job destruction" elevated level of new unemployment claims, Zeller explained, noting that streak ended for four weeks in January and February.

"But job destruction this week and elevated levels of new unemployment claims returned to the Ohio data in a substantial majority of Ohio's counties," he said

Ohio's 9,660 new unemployment claims last week were 26.8 percent higher than the 7,617 new unemployment claims that Ohio had during the fifth week of June 1999, which was the last year when Ohio had unambiguous job growth for the entire year.

This negative figure extended a new streak to 20 consecutive weeks with Ohio experiencing a "job destruction" level of new unemployment claims.

The 26 percent above 1999 elevated level of Ohio new unemployment claims this week was a sharp deterioration from the level 21 weeks ago that was -3.0 percent below 1999.

It was an even sharper deterioration in the new update in comparison to the same figure of -22.1 percent below 1999 that Ohio had 18 weeks ago during the first week of February, he said.

"This week's data confirm that earlier favorable readings during late January 2003 and early February 2003 were not genuine measures of an improving Ohio economy," Zeller said.

"Instead, as happened in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, the improving measures were 'false positive' measures caused by the always very high seasonal distortion in the data that always materializes during the holiday and early winter seasons every year, when layoffs always soar."

Also, the 9,660 new unemployment claims are 24.6 percent higher than the 7,751 new unemployment claims that Ohio had during the fifth week of June 2000, prior to the onset of the 2000-2002 national recession.

Zeller said that figure was an extremely sharp deterioration from a far more favorable reading 21 weeks ago of -17.3 percent.

"Thus, all of this week's unemployment claims measures have returned to the elevated 'job destruction' magnitude at the statewide level in Ohio," he said.

The weakening Ohio data is down compared to national numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that were generally slightly positive.

The unemployment claims deteriorated substantially during the last two weeks in February 2013 and during all weeks of March, April, May, and June 2013.



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