Cincinnati Metropolitan Area's Unemployment Rate Dips to 14-Year Low

The unemployment rate in the metropolitan region that contains Cincinnati fell for the fourth consecutive month in April to 4.1 percent. The unemployment rate of the 15-county region defined as the Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area has fallen every month this year, from 5.5 percent in January to the current rate. April's jobless rate is the lowest its been in the region since July 2001.

Pre-recession annual averages for the region's unemployment hovered around 5 percent, with the unemployment rate peaking in 2010 at nearly 10 percent. However, since that time the rate has decreased precipitously and has now fallen below statistical averages for the region. 

The data provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services shows that the region's civilian labor force totals 1,076,100, comprising civilians 16 years of age and over who are working or seeking work. Of those 1,076,100 people seeking work, 1,032,100 are currently employed, leaving an estimated 44,000 people still looking.

The unemployment figure of 44,000 represents those who do not currently have a job but who are actively seeking work, waiting to be called back to a job from which laid off or waiting to report within 30 days to a new payroll job.

Just as significant as the unemployment rate has been the number of people seeking work, or the labor participation rate. Unemployment has declined in Ohio and around the nation largely, though not exclusively, due to a shrinking labor force, meaning statistics about falling unemployment are just as likely to be judged as a corresponding statistical increase in the number of people who haven't bothered looking for work during the time period measured. Termed "slack" in the labor market by economists, this phenomenon often diminishes the knee-jerk enthusiasm that can follow a lower unemployment rate and has been a justification for continued criticism of the sluggish economic recovery over the past several years.

Yet Cincinnati's labor market is increasing. Only 1,061,600 people sought work in the previous month of March compared with the figure of 1,076,100 in April, indicating an increase in the labor market of nearly 15,000 participants. That the unemployment rate still declined with the entrance of these individuals signals even stronger market fundamentals as the local and national economy prepare for the warmer weather.

From the Ohio Labor Market Information of the Department of Labor and Family Services