This morning the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services released the Ohio jobs data for December.  Again, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped significantly from 8.5% to 8.1%, but that’s not good news once you, again, look at why Ohio’s unemployment rate is dropping.  In fact, it suggests that Ohio’s recovery is stalling.

In November, the unemployment rate dropped .5% as Ohio made a modest gain of 6,000 new jobs, but the drop was largely due to the fact that 22,000 unemployed Ohioans dropped out of the labor market altogether.  In other words, they gave up even looking for work.  We pointed out that is not a good thing, despite the Governor and his supporters crowing about the drop in the unemployment rate. 

And we were backed up by economists who called the November drop in the labor market the biggest single monthly drop since May 1975.  Outside of Kasich and his partisans, it was generally agreed that it’s not good when the only reason the unemployment rate dropped is because people were dropping out of the labor market at nearly four times the rate the State was creating jobs.  In fact, the only thing worse is if the rate was dropping because labor market was shrinking at a faster rate than the State was losing jobs, right?

Wait for it….

Wait for it…

Which is precisely what happened in December.  21,000 Ohioans (only 1,000 less than the 36-year record high in November) dropped out of the labor market as Ohio lost 3,300 jobs, which means most of the jobs Kasich bragged Ohio gaining in November were lost a month later.

Ohio has actually lost jobs in half the months snce Kasich’s “Jobs Budget” became law.

Nationally, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped half the rate Ohio’s did.  But nationally, the drop in the unemployment rate was fueled by the creation of 200,000 new jobs the same month Ohio lost jobs and saw another historical drop in the labor market.   Consider this.  Over the past twelve months, the ODJFS says that 85,000 Ohioans dropped out of the labor market.  Over half of that drop occurred during the past two months.  Over half.   Anyone who thinks today’s jobs report is good news for Ohioans needs their head examined.

Yesterday’s Quinnipiac Poll shows Kasich’s job approval rating at 39% to 48%, an insignificant improvement from December’s 38%/50%.  Ohioans disapprove of his handling of the budget by 53% to 33%, virtually unchanged from where it has been since he introduced his “Jobs Budget.”

Only 19% of Ohioans (which are predominantly Republicans) believe that the economy in Ohio has gotten better since John Kasich took office.  29% believe it’s gotten worse (which is close to being predominantly evenly made up of Democrats and Independents) and 48% believe it’s no better than it was under Governor Strickland.

Of those who believe it’s gotten worse, 55% blame Kasich over President Obama.

Kasich ran on a simple promise: elect me and the economy will get better.  It was, in part, a deceptive promise as Kasich and the millions in third-party spending on his behalf spent much of 2010 denying that Ohio was, in fact, already in an economic recovery.

The political problem for Kasich is that the job creators haven’t started… well, creating jobs in Ohio as much as Kasich was likely planning, and Ohioans are not willing to tolerate his allies in the legislature’s assault on working people’s rights, voters’ rights, and women’s personal reproductive rights when the economy is not improving as it should.

I don’t want to discount how much Issue 2 (SB 5) played in Kasich’s unpopularity, but that doesn’t explain it entirely either, nor why that unpopularity has stuck.  As a political strategist famously said:

It’s the economy, stupid.