Even though Gov. Kasich, his Administrative Team and his campaign tout him as a “comeback” governor, a moniker affixed to him and other GOP governors who rose to power in 2010 by the Republican Governors Association, his comeback record, based on an assortment of economic metrics and measures, is far weaker than the average voter understands.
A new study of jobs produced under Gov. Kasich exposes his turnaround story as essentially false, now that job numbers show a majority of the jobs he touts having created don’t pay enough to support a family. Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, released a new study Wednesday that finds that for the first time since 2007, Ohio now has more low wage jobs than medium or high wage jobs. Using Occupational Employment data from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the study also found that while 9 out of 10 Ohio jobs lost during the Great Recession paid medium or high wages, low-paying jobs account for virtually all Ohio job growth during the recovery.
Prior to the start of the recession in 2007, 33 percent of Ohio jobs paid more than $20 per hour, 39 percent paid between $13.40 and $19.99, and just 28 percent paid $7.00-$13.39 hourly. At the end of 2013, low-wage positions had jumped to 36 percent of Ohio jobs, while medium-paying jobs fell to 34 percent and high-wage jobs dropped to 31 percent. As a share of the state’s economy, high and medium wage jobs dropped from 72 percent in 2007 to just 64 percent in 2013. Low wage jobs grew from 28 percent to 36 percent during that period.
IO’s new President, Keary McCarthy, commented on the numbers, saying, “This report makes clear that Gov. Kasich’s handling of Ohio’s economic recovery warrants serious scrutiny. Not only has the recovery from the great recession been slow and inconsistent, but for the first time since 2007 low-wage jobs now comprise the highest share of the job market.”
Last month, Ohio led the nation in job losses with 12,400, and now ranks 41st among states according to analysis performed by Arizona State University. Meanwhile, Ohio under Gov. Kasich has lagged the national average for 20 straight months. While most states have recovered jobs lost in the Great Recession, Gov. Kasich is still 140,000 jobs short of reaching the number of jobs before the recession hit.
“And if all this isn’t bad enough, today we learn that the few jobs Gov. Kasich has managed to create don’t pay a living wage or enough to sustain a family. Some miracle. Some recovery,” IO communication director Dale Butland said in prepared remarks today.
Study data show that working Ohioans have been forced to accept low-wage jobs in exchange for the many high and medium wage jobs that were lost during the downturn and have yet to return. The gloomy numbers help explain why many Ohioans continue to be pessimistic about the state of the economy. In 2013, for the first time since 2007, there were more low wage jobs than either medium or high wage jobs, IO reported. The shift in the pay level of available jobs means that even though Ohio employment is growing, it is doing so by adding jobs that do not pay enough to support a family, the report notes.
Meanwhile, the types of jobs available, combined with a job creation rate in the bottom fifth of all states, suggest that the recovery thus far is insufficient to provide Ohio’s citizens with economic security. The sad news for Buckeye workers is that only two-thirds of the jobs Ohio had before the Great Recession had been added back.
Ohio’s unemployment rate now sits at 5.7 percent compared to the national level of 6.2 percent, but it increased slightly from 5.5 percent in June.
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