Cincinnati’s job market is on the mend this Labor Day weekend, but talent shortages and continued economic uncertainity hamper a full recovery, expert said.
The Cincinnati economy has regained about half of the 76,000 jobs lost during the recession, according to seasonally adjusted data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Total nonfarm employment stood at 1,015,900 in July. That’s up 39,000 from February, 2010, when the local job market hit bottom. But it’s still 37,700 short of the region’s pre-recession peak in January, 2008.
“It’s fair to say that this has been a particularly slow recovery for the labor market,” said Janet Harrah, senior director of the Center for Economic Analysis and Development at Northern Kentucky University.
The chart below shows growth of Cincinnati job numbers over time in blue; U.S. numbers are in red, according Federal Reserve Economic Data.
On a local and national basis, unemployment rates are falling. Cincinnati’s jobless rate now stands at 7.1 percent, better than Ohio’s rate of 7.3 percent and the national rate of 7.7 percent.
But some economists worry that too many of the jobs now being created are lower-paying, part-time jobs, lacking in benefits.
Still, Harrah said there are reasons for optimism.
“We’ve had 31 months of year over year job gains,” she said. “All of that job growth has occurred in the private sector.”
On the private sector side, Harrah said the recovery has mostly occurred in the service side of the economy, including health care, which never really lost jobs in the recession, and professional business services, including law and accounting firms.
The chart below shows growth of employment in the professional and business sectors in the Cincinnati area (in blue) compared with across the nation (in red), according to Federal Reserve Economic Data.