Ohio’s 25-percent governor, measured by the percentage of registered voters who actually voted for John Kasich last Tuesday, will no longer have to face electors. But he cannot escape facing undeniable statistics that show what a poor job creator he has been over the last four years.
Both the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services [ODJFS] and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] released a weekly update to new claims for unemployment this morning in a timely fashion, according to George Zeller of Cleveland, a long-time trusted economic analyst. The numbers again show the Buckeye State performing badly, especially when compared to job growth nationally, which according to the Wall Street Journal is the true measure of job performance.
Zeller notes that Ohio data weakened slightly, which unfortunately translates into an extended streak in which new unemployment claims are again rising. “In a very different pattern, nationwide USA data weakened slightly this week but are still unusually positive,” Zeller observes. He adds, “Thus, the updated data on new unemployment claims are mostly favorable in the USA, with the negative Ohio results during the newly updated week in stark contrast to more positive USA national data this week.”
Ohio’s 8,500 new unemployment claims in newly released data for the second week of November 2014 are now 9.3 percent higher than the 7,766 new unemployment claims that Ohio had during the second week of November 1999, the last year when Ohio had unambiguous job growth for the entire year, Zeller tells OhioNewsBureau [ONB] today. “Ohio has unfortunately returned this week to the ‘job destruction’ range of new claims that are currently elevated above normal levels,” he says. Ohio’s “job destruction” level of new unemployment claims, he says, “is now in its tenth consecutive week.” During the race for governor four years ago, citizen Kasich said he would “move the needle” on job creation. He’s done that, but the needle has moved down instead of up for most of his time in office, which includes creating a private and secret job group, JobsOhio, that literally has billions to giveaway with virtually no oversight for public officials or the public.
Zeller says that every year in January and early February the level of new unemployment claims soars dramatically, since there are more layoffs every year during the post-holiday winter period than there are at any other time of year, both during recessions and economic recoveries. with elevated levels of new unemployment claims until the improvement during the fourth week of April 2014 and the first two weeks of May 2014. That three week positive streak ended during ten previous weeks.
During the second week of January, a highly negative streak of 19 consecutive months with Ohio’s level of new unemployment claims at elevated “job destruction” levels came to an end. Subsequent data for early March made it clear that more favorable data in late January and early February were “false positive” measures that reflected seasonal distortion rather than genuine improvement in the Ohio labor market.
“The unfavorable Ohio data today are in stark contrast to the slightly weakening but still very positive data released on Thursday at the national level for the USA by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,” he said Thursday via email to ONB. According to Zeller, the bottom line is this: “The national data on new unemployment claims are still highly favorable in today’s update with currently extremely low levels. The national data are therefore highly encouraging, and are far better than the newly updated and newly unfavorable weakening figures released for Ohio today.”
As a result of this week’s newly unfavorable figures, six of Ohio’s seven large multi-county metro regions currently have elevated “job destruction” levels of current new unemployment claims, with only Cleveland-Akron-Lorain-Elyria in the not elevated “job growth” range. Youngstown-Warren soared astonishingly from a favorable figure three weeks ago to the highest elevated job destruction level among the urban regions this week for the third consecutive week.
Columbus fell to the second highest elevated level of new unemployment claims among these seven Ohio regions this week and during the two previous weeks as the layoff figures soared stunningly in Youngstown-Warren. The Ohio counties of metro Cincinnati this week retain Ohio’s third highest elevated level of new unemployment claims among the state’s 7 large urban regions. Youngstown-Warren has now experienced “job growth” levels of new unemployment claims that are not elevated for 130 of the past 179 weeks, despite this week’s astonishing increase in new claims.
The speed of Ohio’s recovery has previously been continuously too slow. The lingering weakness is consistent with the job data in Ohio released for September 2014 on October 17. Through August 2014 Ohio currently has a streak of twenty-three consecutive months with Ohio’s job growth rate below the USA national average. That streak was lengthened in September 2014 to a period of time that now has reached one full year and eleven additional months. Even more troubling is the fact that Ohio’s 24,400 jobs lost in July was the largest figure for job losses during July 2014 that was suffered by any USA state, and Ohio’s August job growth was a very weak 200 jobs. Growth of 6,000 jobs in Ohio during September 2014 was still relatively weak, increasing the current gap between the Ohio job growth rate and the USA job growth rate.
In that context, the fresh deterioration in this week’s Ohio new unemployment claims is a potentially unfavorable leading indicator in advance of new Ohio job data for October 2014 scheduled for release on November 21 that will measure whether Ohio’s continually below average recovery is finally improving to national norms.
Since Ohio has still not recovered more than 145,000 jobs that it lost as a result of the deep and lengthy 2007-2009 national “Great Recession,” it is discouraging to see today’s data on new claims that measure a return to job destruction elevated levels of Ohio new unemployment claims. Further improvements in subsequent weeks are still urgently needed so that more than 145,000 Ohio workers who lost their jobs during the 2007 Great Recession will be able to find a new job.