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Ohio Unemployment Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Career Services Success Stories

Career Services Success Stories | Photo by Kelsie Tomlinson | The Wright State Guardian

Two years after the height of COVID-19, unemployment rates in Ohio and the Dayton area have returned to pre-pandemic levels. With lower unemployment comes more opportunities in a number of industries. 

Unemployment rate trends

After the COVID-19 pandemic led to high unemployment rates across the country, the job market has started to recover. 

Before the pandemic, the Ohio unemployment rate trended around 4%. During the height of the pandemic in the second quarter of 2020, unemployment in Ohio rose above 10% for a three month period between April and July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In Dayton, the peak was 15% in April 2020, according to reports from FRED Economic Data at the St. Louis Fed. 

The BLS now puts the U.S. unemployment rate at 3.5% as of September 2022. In Ohio, that number is 4%, nearly a 1% decrease from September 2021. 

FRED data puts the unemployment rate in Dayton specifically at 3.8%, which is down half a percentage point from last year. 

The job market

Lance Cauley, Associate Director of Career Services at Wright State University, explained that unemployment in Ohio and the Dayton area often trend around 3-5%, having leveled off during pandemic highs. The Dayton labor market is typically healthy, and a healthy labor market means plentiful job opportunities for Dayton residents. 

“We have a record number of employers that are interested in recruiting Wright State students and alumni specifically for opportunities in the Dayton region,” Cauley enthused. “We have a lot of good industries that drive a lot of the amount of the employment growth.”

Industries recruiting in Dayton include healthcare, education and defense. Cauley further explained that these are industries that usually maintain the need for work. As a result, the Dayton market stays stable, while other areas might not follow any predictable trend.

According to Cauley, there is a very high demand for Wright State students from job recruiters. 

Speaking about the career fair that was held last month, Cauley said that career services did not have enough space for the multitude of interested employers.

Wright State students and alumni looking for work in the area will find many interested employers as well. For more information about employment options in the Dayton area, visit the WSU career services page

Angela Davis

Contributing News Writer