I’ve noticed that some amateurish conservative bloggers are trying to take the past week of Kasich’s economic development news to suggest that John Kasich presents a “New Way, New Day” from Ted Strickland. The argument is that thanks to JobsOhio and John Kasich’s move to create an environment that creates jobs, Ohio is doing better than it did under Strickland.
Let’s be clear on something. The news in Toledo with the Chrysler plant and Republic Steel are good news, but there’s no evidence that but for JobsOhio Ohio couldn’t have gotten those jobs. In fact, both of those sites had already recently expanded in the past year thanks to work done by the Ohio Department of Development.
The reality is that Kasich’s recent spate of economic development news isn’t unique or particularly breathtaking. After all, it was roughly a year ago, Ohioans got this news from the supposedly “incompetent” Ohio Department of Development:
Patt-McDaniel Announce Tax Credits to Create and Retain 7,284 Jobs
State Approves Record Number of Projects to Assist Ohio Communities
The reason these conservatives claim they never heard of these kind of developments under Strickland is because they had their fingers in the ears yelling “Na na na, I can’t hear you.” Strickland saved Goodyear and Firestone for leaving, after all. JobsOhio hasn’t even come close to touching the record set by Strickland’s Department of Development. And again, there’s no evidence that JobsOhio has resulted in jobs Ohio may not have gotten had it just stayed with the Ohio Department of Development.
As for Kasich’s creating a new environment to create jobs, how has he done this? Yes, he’s created the Common Sense Initiative to reform Ohio’s regulations to be more business friendly early in his Administration, but do you know what Mary Taylor cites as evidence of its success? That Ohio businesses can buy liquor in bulk now and former Ohioans who graduated from Ohio high schools can still pay in-State tuition at Ohio’s colleges and universities. Both of which required statutory changes, not regulatory ones. Since then, Taylor has suggested that CSI was pointing the Kasich Administration to reform (privatize) workers compensation and take local tax collection authority away from local governments. The first is definitely shelved, and the second as been presumed to be shelved.
CSI has been a joke, and nothing more than Kasich repackaging of Governor Strickland’s regulatory reform that resulted in the amending and elimination of thousands of regulations. So far, just like JobsOhio, CSI has come up short when compared to the Strickland original.
But to quote them, here’s what conservatives try to say to brag about Kasich and why it comes up short:
“Ohio’s unemployment is down.”
Yeah, but unemployment was already going down under Strickland.
From January 2011 to now, Ohio’s unemployment rate under Kasich has dropped a whopping .3%. A year prior, when Kasich was campaigning through the State telling anyone who listened that Strickland hadn’t positioned the State to recover or done everything possible to lower the unemployment rate, Ohio’s unemployment rate had dropped .9%. So compared to so far this year, Ohio’s unemployment rate was dropping at THREE TIMES the rate under Strickland than under Kasich.
Remember, a year ago, it wasn’t enough for these conservatives that Ted Strickland could say that unemployment was dropping in Ohio, even though it was dropping three times as fast as it would under Kasich so far. Over the course of 2010, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped 1.3%. That would be over four times the rate it has so far under Kasich.
But wait, not all drops in unemployment is a sign of a good economy. The unemployment rate is computed by taking the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics seasonally-adjusted numbers from its household surveys showing how many Ohioan households report being employed, unemployed, and in the labor market altogether. If the unemployment rate is dropping simply because people gave up looking for work, that’s not a good thing. So how does Ohio stack up so far under Kasich compared to the recovery seen under Strickland?
Here’s Ohio’s chart for the number of unemployed Ohioans:
The number of unemployed Ohioans has dropped only 25k since Kasich took Ohioans because it started to go back up over the summer. The number of unemployed Ohioans dropped 55k under Strickland during the same 10 month period a year earlier. Again, that’s over twice as much of a drop in unemployed Ohioans as Kasich.
But then you get to the number of Ohio households that report being employed:
In 2010 under Ted Strickland, the number of employed Ohioans grew by 59,638. Since Kasich has been in office, the number of employed Ohioans has SHRUNK, to the tune of –15,918. In fact, there are virtually the same number of Ohioans reporting as being employed today as there was when Kasich was elected Governor.
And here’s how the labor market population in Ohio looks:
Ouch. Ohioans labor market was still shrinking under Strickland, but then started to grow again in August 2010, but it then took a nosedrive in May 2011 (shortly before the Kasich “Jobs Budget” became law.)
So while 6,748 dropped out of Ohio’s labor market in all of 2010, 41,372 individuals have dropped out of the labor market so far this year. That’s six times the rate we saw in 2010 under Strickland where we started to see it rebounding.
So where does that leave us? While John Kasich and his friends at the Republican Governor’s Association was spending millions fooling Ohioans into thinking that “Strickland didn’t get the jobs done” Ohio was, in reality, growing jobs faster than the rate people were reentering the labor market. That resulted in a large drop in the State’s unemployment rate over a year. Then, Kasich took over, and the number of employed Ohioans dropped, and the unemployment rate dropped solely because more people were dropping out the labor market altogether at a slightly faster rate than employed Ohioans joined the ranks of the unemployed.
Even if you look a subsector like manufacturing jobs, Strickland was creating those jobs at a faster rate than Ohio’s done so far with Kasich. And that’s pretty remarkable since you have to believe that Kasich has enjoyed a considerable amount of “bleed over” left from the recovery that began under Strickland. It’s not like the economy switches on a dime simply by a change in office, as evidenced by the fourteen-month streak of dropping unemployment that started in early 2010 under Strickland and continued until April of 2011.
“Under Kasich, the Buckeye State has gained over 40,000 jobs since January.”
And the same data shows that the number under Strickland wasn’t much different. Kasich can boast that the CES survey by the BLS shows a little under 4,000 more jobs in Ohio than Strickland created under the same ten-month time period in 2010. But creating roughly 40k jobs wasn’t enough to save Strickland’s job, how is that a favorable stat for Kasich?
Sorry, that’s just what the objective data shows:
- An unemployment rate dropping three times the rate under Strickland than so far under Kasich;
- More Ohioans are unemployed than since Kasich took office;
- Unemployment under Strickland dropped as Ohioans found work whereas under Kasich, it’s dropped because Ohioans have given up trying to find work.
By no stretch of the imagination does it show Kasich doing a better job than Strickland was doing after the recession. Kasich fanboy fiction aside, Kasich has a long way to go before the economic data suggests he’s done better on the economy than Strickland. Especially, since Ohio was already under a strong recovery under Strickland that has clearly stalled this year. And especially since lately, Ohio’s unemployment rate seems to rise or fall with the national rate, as opposed to as under Strickland when it steadily dropped as the nation rate stayed relatively steady.
In reality, these Kasich fanboys are deluded in the first place to suggest that any governor really has that much of a direct impact on a State’s economy. In truth, a Governor has very little impact on the economy, especially directly. But what’s even more delusional than suggesting that a Governor can control the State’s economy is the notion that somehow Ohio’s doing substantially better under Kasich than Strickland. The objective data just doesn’t support that case at all.