February’s employment report shows the U.S. added 295,000 jobs last month, an impressive number that brought the national unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent. Experts say the increase from January to February brings job totals to 2.8 million above the previous peak, meaning total employment is up 11.5 million from the employment recession low. Private payroll employment. which is favored by many over public sector jobs, increased 288,000 in the same time frame, bringing private employment to 3.2 million above the previous peak. Refreshingly, that translates into private employment up 12 million from the recession low.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez was pleased with the addition of 295,000 new jobs in February. “That makes 12 months in a row of at least 200,000 new jobs, the longest such streak in nearly 20 years. And for five years now — 60 uninterrupted months — private sector employment growth has continued unabated to the tune of more than 12 million jobs overall,” he said Friday. “The labor market continues to strengthen, as the economy has increasingly added middle and high-wage jobs over the last two years.”
In the Buckeye State, run by Gov. John Kasich, his so-called “Ohio Model” has again under-performed the national average for job growth. A hard-right conservative that wants to be President of the United States, Gov. Kasich was gifted a very friendly GO legislature in 2010 that agreed to create JobsOhio, a private, hand-selected group exempt from public records laws. With money bonded out over decades based on state liquor profits, JobsOhio has billions to dole out to job creators. Even with this rare, private breed of job hunters that depend on taxpayer money, the governor’s poor track record was made clear again today by one of the state’s top job research experts who reported that the Buckeye State has now extended its sub-par job growth to 27 consecutive months.
From last April to today, the nation added about 2 million jobs, surpassing its total 2007 jobs number. During the same time, while the nation grew jobs at the rate of 2.3 percent, Ohio’s job total has grown by 1.2 percent, nearly a 50 percent gap.
George Zeller, a Cleveland-based economic research analyst known for his number crunching, who serves as an expert source by newspapers including the Cleveland Plain Dealer from time to time, reported more disturbing news Friday. The last time Ohio was above the national average job growth rate was in November 2012, but since then, Zeller said, Ohio has been below the national average for 27 straight months.
“In the newly revised data, the last month when Ohio’s job growth exceeded the USA national average was October 2012, when Ohio’s 2.07% job growth rate was slightly above the 1.62% USA national average. Given the revisions, Ohio’s lengthy sub-par job growth streak went up by 2 in the new data. The new streak is 27 consecutive months below the USA national average in employment growth. That is two full years and three additional months below the USA national average,” Zeller told OhioNewsBureau via email today.
The actual newly released January 2015 job growth rates are 1.85 percent in Ohio and 2.37 percent in the USA, meaning Gov. Kasich has under-performed the national average by nearly 22 percent. Last month, prior to the major annual revisions, Zeller said Ohio had a 26 consecutive month streak of job growth below the USA national average. Zeller said a complete analysis of the new figures will be available later today.
“The bottom line is that Ohio’s recovery from the 2000s recession did not improve at all,” Zeller notes. “The current updated and revised figure is that Ohio has still not recovered from the 2000-2002 recession, and in January 2015 Ohio is still 241,200 jobs short of its peak job figure in May 2000. That is a loss of 4.3% of Ohio’s job level 15 years ago.”
After a good crunching of the numbers, Zeller says Ohio is closer to recovering from the “Great Recession” than it was before today’s major benchmark revision to the figures. “But, Ohio has still not fully recovered from the 2007 ‘Great Recession.'”
Private sector jobs are always the focus for most anti-government types, but public sector jobs are still jobs that contribute to national and state GDPs. Zeller observes that Ohio is slowing down its rate of growth by public policy. “The newly released January 2015 job figures find that the loss of 8,000 jobs in Government was by far the biggest single factor slowing down Ohio’s recovery from the ‘Great Recession’ and the 2000 recession. All three components of Government, Federal, State, and Local, lost jobs in January 2015. This particular public policy is still having the predictable impact of slowing down Ohio’s rate of recovery. That is extremely troubling.”
Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger, a Republican from Clarksville, commented today on the two prominent points in the jobs report, Ohio’s unemployment rate of 5.1 percent and the addition in 2014 of 72,700 additional jobs, which the speaker said brings the cumulative number of private-sector jobs created since January 2011 to 352,000.
“Today’s announcement by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is wonderful news for the people of Ohio. This puts our state in a very promising position to continue its progress and momentum. It is clear that the Ohio House, the Senate and Governor Kasich have worked together to implement policies that create a stronger environment for job growth and economic stability, and it is my hope that we can continue this level of collaboration into the future. As we delve deeper into this year’s main operating budget, I know we will look to today’s numbers as proof that, by working together, we can achieve our common goal of securing a better future for all Ohioans.”
Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, a Democrat from Boardman), also commented on Ohio’s monthly jobs report, reminding current officeholders on whose watch the recovery really started on.
“The latest jobs report confirms that Ohio’s economic recovery began in 2010 under former Governor Strickland nearly a year before the Kasich administration took office. While the report is encouraging, Ohio is still more than 24,000 jobs short of a full recovery from the Great Recession. Curiously, Governor Kasich fails to mention the lost public sector jobs that have not been recovered. All jobs matter regardless of whether you work for a business or you’re a teacher, firefighter or police officer,” he said in prepared remarks. Schiavoni added, “Ohio’s job growth remains below the national average and many of the jobs being created pay low wages. Clearly, with poverty up and median income down in this state, there is still much work to be done to get Ohio back on track. I don’t think it’s the time for the Governor to take a victory lap.”
Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business ranks Ohio 37th out of 50 states in job growth. In his analysis of newly reivsed job estimates, Mr. Zeller says the state gained 75,100 jobs during 2012, 76,700 during 2013, but in 2014 it gained fewer jobs, 72,000 jobs. That, he said, is “a slowing growth performance and still growth below the national average level of employment growth within the state.”
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