Ohio Governor John Kasich has long used the blame-game bromide of “headwinds from Washington” in an attempt to explain away the poor job creation numbers in Ohio under his watch, even while Ohio’s job growth continued to under-perform the national job growth average. When you look at President Obama’s job creation record, which just ended 57 straight months of job growth, Kasich’s excuses are revealed to be just that: excuses.
The president has overseen an economy that has added 10.9 million private sector jobs in just 2014, that’s more jobs added than in any full calendar year since the late 1990s. Moreover, the pace of job growth has increased 47,000 jobs per month from last year to a current 2014 average of 241,000 jobs per month. On a percentage basis, the economy is adding jobs at a rate of about 2 percent per year.
Meanwhile, in Ohio over the last 12 months, Gov. Kasich, who enjoys a friendly legislature at his beck and call and a private job group with billions in taxpayer dollars to ladle out, can look back on a job growth rate of just 1.2 percent (compared to 2 percent for the nation). That lag of 40 percent translates into about 89,000 jobs Gov. Kasich needs to create to reach the pre-Great Recession job count level, according to Cleveland-based economic think tank Policy Matters Ohio [PMO].
Drilling down further on Ohio’s inability under the Kasich Administration to brook the divide between national job production, Ohio’s unofficial and unchallenged chief economic scoreboard keeper has weighed-in like clockwork on statistics issued last week by both the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state’s Department of Jobs and Family Services. Economic guru George Zeller, based in Cleveland, informed OhioNewsBureau [ONB] Friday on an updated “Economic Indicators” report on the level of new unemployment claims in both Ohio and in the USA.
Zeller reports this week’s Ohio data improved slightly but remain weak. “Ohio has unfortunately extended a new streak to nine consecutive weeks with a job destruction level of new unemployment claims that is currently elevated,” Zeller told ONB. In a very different pattern, he said, “nationwide USA data improved slightly this week and are still unusually positive. Thus, the updated data on new unemployment claims are mostly favorable in the USA, with the clearly negative Ohio results during the newly updated week in stark contrast to more positive USA national data this week.”
Among his findings, Zeller says Ohio’s 12,882 new unemployment claims in newly released data for the fourth and final week of December 2014 are now 3.4 percent higher than the 12,462 new unemployment claims that Ohio had during the fourth week of December 1999, the last year when Ohio had unambiguous job growth for the entire year. He notes Ohio remains this week in the “job destruction” range of new claims that are currently elevated above normal levels.
“The national data are therefore highly encouraging, and are far better than the newly updated and still slightly unfavorable weakening figures released for Ohio today,” Zeller observed. He cautions that firms always discharge more employees after Christmas and during the early winter months than they do at any other time of year.
Like he’s done many times before, Zeller dwells on Ohio’s too slow recovery under Gov. Kasich. “The lingering weakness is consistent with the job data in Ohio released for November 2014 on December 19. Through November 2014 Ohio currently has a streak of twenty-five consecutive months with Ohio’s job growth rate below the USA national average. That streak was lengthened in November 2014 to a period of time that exceeds two full years,” he said via email to ONB.
Zeller’s figure on jobs Gov. Kasich still needs to create to get back to normal levels is more than 109,000 jobs, 20,000 more than PMO says is needed. “Further improvements in subsequent weeks are still urgently needed so that more than 109,000 Ohio workers who lost their jobs during the 2007 Great Recession will be able to find a new job,” Zeller notes.
At Gov. Kasich’s current slow pace, estimates are that he’ll be out office without having really turned Ohio around as he said he would. Now term limited in 2018, Gov. Kasich promised voters in 2014 that the “best is yet to come.” The Great Recession ripped up Ohio like it did to all Midwestern states and nearly every other state in the union. The bigger they are, the harder they doesn’t just apply to boxers, it also applies to state economies.
Gov. Kasich really wants people to believe he has an economic model others should follow, but his case wouldn’t be so weak if he could outperform President Obama’s national model, just once. Instead of complaining about headwinds from Washington, a snappy soundbite that purposely papers over the harm his party members are responsible for, Gov. Kasich appears unable to catch the tailwinds from Washington that are propelling lots of other states forward, especially California, with its “whackadoodles” and very progressive Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, which has strongly outpaced the Buckeye State month after month.
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