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Zellers:?Economy still struggling

Cleveland economic researcher says unemployment claims ‘unquestionably a discouraging development’

November 26, 2012
Morning Journal News

SALEM - Economic data for the third week of November shows a three-week streak of "job growth" in Ohio new unemployment claims started and ended.

Thirteen weeks ago the state broke a long period of 25 consecutive weeks with a "job destruction" with an elevated level of new unemployment claims, according to George Zeller, a Cleveland economic researcher.

The week's data provides a very clear "job destruction" reading that shows the earlier apparent improvement in the Ohio data during early August 2012 has been impacted by the same seasonal distortion that Ohio saw last year in 2011 from the model changeover period in the automobile industry, Zeller, a 1967 Salem High School graduate, noted.

"This of course is a discouraging development," he said, adding, "the national data were still largely negative this week, while the Ohio data were also sharply negative with a definite return to nearly statewide "job destruction" levels of current new unemployment claims.

"In early August, Ohio broke a previous streak of twenty-five consecutive weeks with elevated 'job destruction' levels of new unemployment claims. But, Ohio today returned to a 'job destruction' level of new unemployment claims for the thirteenth consecutive week. This is unquestionably a discouraging development," he said.

Zeller's reports 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.

In the recent quarters, metro Columbus has "astonishingly" had the highest elevated levels of new unemployment claims among Ohio's seven large urban region, Zeller said, adding that in "a major development eight weeks ago," first Toledo and then Cleveland-Akron-Lorain-Elyria replaced Columbus in this unfortunate distinction.

The end of high levels of layoffs in Lorain County five weeks ago moved Columbus back to its unwanted and unfortunate distinction as the Ohio urban region with the currently highest elevated level of new unemployment claims.

Columbus this week once again has by far the most elevated level of new unemployment claims among Ohio's seven large urban regions for the third consecutive week, Zeller said.

He explained there had been speculation that Hurricane Sandy might have distorted declines in new unemployment claims two weeks ago.

"That was far from the case, as Ohio suffered a substantial relapse last week as new unemployment claims increased sharply throughout Ohio in the data for the first week in November.

"Those increases took a further turn for the worse in the data last week for the second week in November, and in the new data today for the third week in November.

"The odd patterns in the data for all weeks of November have suffered some abnormal patters that are storm-related, but the increases in layoffs during November have been very large and alarming in both the United States and in Ohio.

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