For the thirteenth consecutive month, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped in March from 9.2% in February to 8.9% as the State had a net gain of 2,200 driven mostly by the 5k jobs gained in the manufacturing sector. The biggest loss in jobs occurred in the trade, transportation and utilities sector (-4,200) followed by the public sector (-1,500).
However, over the past twelve months, no sector has seem more job losses in Ohio than the public sector (-5,400). The second highest sector to experience job losses is information (-1,900), of which 1,200 was lost in March alone. So the public sector has seen nearly three times as many job losses than any other sector over the past year in Ohio. And yet, there are proponents of SB 5 who believe that the public employees have been “sheltered” from the impact of the recession.
Ohio saw a 1.6% drop in it’s unemployment rate over the past twelve months and is now .1% above the national unemployment rate.
The number of unemployed Ohioans has dropped 93,000 over the past twelve months while Ohio grew over 65,700. That means 70% of Ohio’s unemployment drop is the result of new jobs, but 30% of it is the result of people dropping out of the labor market. That means we have a sizeable labor pool that is totally offline. As the economy continues to improve, these people will probably rejoin the labor force. This may cause the appearance of Ohio’s unemployment to rise or flat line for a period. However, that would actually be a healthy sign for the economy.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the last time Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped this consistently was the nineteen-month streak starting in January 1983 when Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped 13.9%-9.1%. Coincidentally, the last time Ohio saw it’s unemployment rate drop 1.6% from twelfth months prior was in October 1984. So the recovery in Ohio that began in February 2010 is second only to the 1983-1984 recovery that lead to Reagan’s near electoral sweep in 1984 and the infatuation of the Midwestern “Reagan Democrat” in American political science circles.
Incidentally, it was January 1983 when Dick Celeste took office. He entered office with high negative polling ratings that Kasich, arguably, does slightly worse than. One of the things that made Celeste unpopular was that he balanced his budget by raising taxes. (Reagan also raised taxes in 1983). Celeste also passed a law providing public employees with collective bargaining rights on a strict party-line vote. However, as the economy improved, Celeste got the credit and was re-elected with 61% over Jim Rhodes in 1986.
Celeste’s opponents also tried to thwart his agenda in his first year. As William Hershey Dayton Daily News noted the same parallel, Celeste’s opponents attempted to thwart his tax increases by placing a repeal on the ballot and putting a measure that required a supermajority for the General Assembly to raise taxes. Both went down pretty handily in defeat.
John Kasich entered office wanting to be the next Jim Rhodes. Right now, he’d be doing well to be the Republican version of Dick Celeste. However, Dick Celeste had the benefit of taking office right when the recovery started. In Kasich’s case the recovery started a full year before he took office. Will that make a difference in the end, though?