We’ve talked about how through February 2010 until April 2011, Ohio was on a consistent fourteen-month streak of seeing its unemployment rate drop every month. That was second only to the streak that began in 1983 in terms of longest consecutive streak of consistently dropping monthly unemployment rates in Ohio. The streak ended in May when Ohio’s unemployment rate stayed the same as it did in April.
This morning, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services released its June unemployment report for Ohio.
The number of Ohioans that are unemployed grew by 9,000 from May to June and the unemployment rate grew to 8.8%, faster than the national rate grew for the same period. This is the first time since August 2009 that Ohio’s unemployment rate has gone up.
Government (-7,300), professional and business services (-600), information (-300), and financial activities (-300) experienced over-the-month losses. Goods-producing industries, at 810,400, were down slightly by 300 from May. The decline in manufacturing (-3,000) and mining and logging (-100) was offset by the growth in construction (+2,800).
The two top sectors of Ohio’s labor market that took the biggest hits in job losses last month were government (the public sector) and manufacturing. It’s good to see construction doing well, but with so many road projects being funded by that pesky economic stimulus package still in Ohio, it’s not surprising (about 60% of my commute is on the orange barrel expressway that is I-75 south of Dayton.)
Now, to be completely fair, the public perception that a Governor really can do much about the economy is grossly overblown. However, in this instance, you can definitely make a connection between actions by the Governor and this jobs report. It’s just not one the Administration will claim. By slashing funding for schools and local governments as well as certain segments of the State, it’s not surprising that Ohio lost 7,000 government jobs. Nor will it be surprising that will likely continue to see further job losses in that sector in the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, in the first six months of this Administration, you’d be hard pressed to identify any policies or achievements by this Administration that was geared specifically towards manufacturing. Even if you humor their claimed “successes” so far, you’re left with an Administration that seems more concerned with throwing millions of dollars to keep corporate office complexes used as corporate headquarters than investing in creating new manufacturing.
Although Ohio did arguably net 10,600 jobs last month, part of that is because the 10,900 jobs in the “service industry,” almost entirely in the leisure and hospitality sector. In other words, seasonal jobs tied to summer tourism.
The fact is that without the federal stimulus propping up the construction sector, Ohio’s June jobs report would have been substantially worse. And as the Kasich “Jobs” budget, which is arguably the most important thing a Governor does do that can have a direct impact on the economy, became law, the government sector led the State in job losses. The economy doesn’t care whether it was government jobs or private sector jobs are lost. A rise in unemployment sinks all boats. It sinks consumer confidence, which sinks consumer spending, which then slows and could even push the State back into the recession.
Add to that the Republican idiots in Congress who think that playing political games with the debt ceiling is okay because they don’t believe there’s any bullets in the chamber in their game of economic Russian roulette, and you can see why Kasich went on Meet the Press last weekend to urge the Congress to get a deal done on the debt ceiling.
Remember, Kasich’s budget is entirely built on the premise that Ohio’s economy will continue to grow as it did last year, albeit slightly slower. If that projection is wrong, then we get a massive budget deficit in his budget. As more and more of Kasich’s policies go into effect, Ohio’s economic recovery has begun to backslide.
But for summer jobs and the stimulus, the June report would have been substantially worse. And instead of catering to the real job creators, the manufacturing sector, Kasich has spent an enormous amount of the State’s treasure ensuring that Ohio’s office parks are filled.
Ohio was pulling itself out of this mess just fine last year until it got a state legislature and a Governor who lately has spent more time legislating abortion and demonizing unions than actually focusing on jobs like they said they would.
Where are the jobs, Governor? Where are the jobs, Speaker Batchelder? Where are the jobs, Senate President Niehaus?