As you know, we’ve been stressing since it came out how November’s jobs report was not good news, even though it showed the unemployment rate dipping half a percent (which is technically the steepest drop in a month in thirty years) because the drop was largely (70% of it anyways) fueled by 22,000 Ohioans simply vanishing from the labor market.

As this has become the chief criticism of something the Kasich Administration has desparately being trying to take credit as a sign it’s actually done some good for Ohio, you can imagine the pitfalls of trying to make 22,000 Ohioans dropping out of the labor market (the biggest single-month drop, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, since 1975) sound like a good thing.  Then again, you’re not fearless Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services spokesman Ben Johnson:

Johnson didn’t deny the labor force decrease played a role, but argued it would be speculative to assume they all gave up job searches out of pessimism. They could be in a holding pattern until after the holidays or preparing to start life as a full-time student when the January semesters begin, he said.

[Source: Athens News Messenger]

Yes, maybe the Kasich Administration is right.  Maybe 22,000 unemployed Ohioans simply went to that farm your mom said your ol’ dog Buster went.  It could have happened.  You can’t prove it didn’t! 

After all, I mean, come on, why would anyway need money before  Christmas?  Second, why would someone quit looking BEFORE the seasonal holidays?  Thanksgiving is at the end of November and Christmas is, and I can’t believe I have to write this, not in  November.  But food costs nothing and all you ever need for Christmas is love, and the T.V. schedule for classic Christmas specials, right?

I don’t know of any unemployed person who, even if they were planning to take classes in January, would not consider finding some work (say a seasonal job) to make a little money two months before they go to school.  Heck, I worked up until two weeks before law school.  Why?  Because here’s a lil’ fact that Ben Johnson forgot, after high school, going to school costs money.  Sure, you can get a grant or a scholarship, but chances are, you need money beyond that.  To like, eat and stuff.

Seriously, does Ben Johnson think that 22,000 Ohioans are banking on grandma’s Christmas card to get them through the holidays financially?

Nanna's not paying your rent for Christmas this year, again... don't bother asking.

Here’s the thing, though.  First, the November labor market data is seasonally adjusted.  In other words, the number is statistically adjusted so you can accurate compare to month to month that already take in account seasonally differences among the months.  Second, we looked at the data for the months of October and November from 2001 through 2011.  Outside of this year, only twice did Ohio see a drop in the labor market in November.  You know what years those were? 2008 and 2009 (you know, during that lil’ hiccup in the economy we had a few years back.)  Every other year but 2008, 2009, and 2011 in past eleven years, Ohio saw GROWTH in their labor market in November.

But, hey, Ben Johnson is an official spokesman for an agency of the Kasich Administration.  He’s no economist.  But then again, economic professors never come down from their ivy towers of moral relativism to ever present anything, especially basic economic data in the labor market as unquestionably good or bad, black or white.  I mean, heck, we probably couldn’t even find an economics professor to explain what this data means in a simplified way ordinary Ohioans can fundamentally understand…

  “A 22,000-person reduction in the labor force, that’s a bad thing,” said Charlene Kalenkoski, a professor of economics at Ohio University.

Yeah, but what’s her field of specialization?

FIELDS OF SPECIALIZATION: Labor and Demographic Economics, Industrial Organization

Oh.  Well, she still can’t prove they’re not at that farm.  Right, Buster?

 

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