On Friday morning the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services released the July jobs report and revised June figures for Ohio. The changes didn’t paint a pretty picture for a governor desperate to win a second term even though his weak performance so far would argue he has no control over job creation.
According to job data offered by Gov. John Kasich’s own agency, nearly 3,000 more jobs were lost in May that first reported. July’s report showed Ohio lost 12,400 jobs overall with 2,900 jobs lost in manufacturing. Ohio’s unemployment rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point even though 6,000 workers dropped out of the labor market. This marks the 5th consecutive month Ohio’s labor market has shrunk, data show. In July, Ohio’s labor participation rate fell below the national rate, representing the third straight month that the number of employed Ohioans has shrunk.
Kasich has had almost four years to show his ideology and philosophy on economic development works, but that proof has failed to materialize, as the approximately 116,000 Ohio workers still looking for a job might tell you. Gov. Kasich loves to dwell on private sector jobs, which explains why he won’t talk about the 5,100 federal workers and 18,400 cops, firefighters, teachers and other local government workers who lost their jobs when he cut billions to their local budgets.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald, who trails Gov. Kasich by as many as a dozen or as few as six percentage points, based on recent polling, jumped on the sad but undeniable numbers. “It’s now clearer than ever why Governor Kasich wants to spend this race lobbying petty partisan attacks and avoiding reporters’ questions about the kitchen table issues that affect Ohio’s working families. When it comes to helping Ohio’s middle class, Governor Kasich’s record is as unimpressive as this month’s job report.”
Not far behind was Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, whose sharp tongue has repeatedly sliced into Team Kasich like a hot knife through butter. “Under John Kasich, Ohio’s job growth continues to drag behind the rest of the nation, and more people give up on finding a job in our state each month. These numbers reveal a frightening reality about Ohioans struggling in a weak economy. Kasich’s policies have failed to create the jobs Ohioans need, all while shifting the tax burden onto middle class families.”
Economic Research Analyst George Zeller, a noted Ohio expert whose track record over the years of analyzing economic data has been sound, said Ohio’s job recovery has been too slow. “Once again, Ohio had a subpar gain to that of the United States for 20 consecutive months,” he said, according to one published report. “What this means is that more than 100,000 Ohio workers can’t find a job because our recovery is too slow.”
Every month, when Ohio budget director Tim Keen sends his financial report to Gov. Kasich and other Administration officials, it’s clear to anyone who reads the chart on page 2 that Ohio’s turnaround started almost two years before Kasich showed up. But Gov. Kasich has refused to credit his predecessor for keeping the ship of state afloat. Instead, Kasich has taken bows for jobs Gov. Strickland created. Adding insult to injury, Ohio media has failed to call Kasich out on coming clean on Ohio’s real job creation story.
In another report by a Columbus newspaper, Michael Wolf, an economist with Wells Fargo & Co, echoed Zeller. “Ohio hasn’t had the big rebound like other states.” Data show that for the 20th straight month, Ohio’s job creation rate has been lower than the national average. In fact, job creation under Gov. Kasich, who wants to win in November so he can jump into the 2016 Republican presidential primary sweepstakes, has been worse under Kasich than it has been for eight other Buckeye governors dating back to 1959.
With days dwindling before Election Day arrives on November 4, FitzGerald and Democrats have their work cut out for them to narrow the gap enough that the little known and underfunded candidate from Cleveland can tip the scales against a powerful incumbent with a vast network of supporters who will pony up as much money as Kasich needs to camouflage his poor record of performance so far.
Kasich has taken bows for tens of thousands of jobs created under former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who not only kept the state from turning into a real economic basket case but steered it into navigable waters again during the final two years of a term that had the terribly bad luck of starting just before the Great Recession swept away most of America. When Kasich was elected Governor, Ohio’s job creation rate was nearly twice that of the national rate. And now, under Kasich, it ranks 38th in job creation.
In November 2010, Ohio’s job creation rate was 1.02 percent compared to the national average of 5.4 percent, according to calculations performed by Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business. Ohio created over 55,000 new jobs in 2010, a midterm election year, than were created in 2013 under Kasich. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics document that 55,100 jobs were created one year before Kasich took office compared to just 50,400 jobs last year.
And while raw jobs numbers are important, so to are the kind of jobs created. An analysis of jobs gained under Gov. Kasich, who still believes income tax cuts create jobs even though decades of proof show that’s a belief not proven in reality, show jobs gains are in lower paying industries than the jobs lost in the recession. Veronica Kalich, an economics professor at Baldwin Wallace University, said in a report that weekly hourly earnings in the industries that showed employment gains since the recession in Ohio range from $12 to about $25 per hour compared to professional and business services that pay a little more. “Employment has not recovered in the higher paying jobs,” she told one Ohio reporter.
The news Gov. Kasich wants to hide is that unemployment rate drops have been the result of people leaving the workforce, not being hired. Since Kasich took office, Ohioans labor market has shrunk by 91,000, according BLS stats. So far in 2014, more than 43,000 Ohioans dropped out of the labor market even though the nation now has more jobs than it did at its pre-recession level.