When Gov. John Kasich takes his traveling “Ohio Model’ roadshow to New Hampshire in a couple weeks, he’ll boast of his turnaround of the state’s economy. What no one will likely push back on is that Ohio, for the 28th consecutive month, has underperformed the national average for job growth.

28 Months Under-performing National Average

But facts are facts, and the undisputed and unchallenged master of those facts has again provided uncontrovertable evidence of Ohio’s too slow growing economy. Cleveland-based economic analyst George Zeller said Thursday that leading indicators portend an improving job climate in the Buckeye State. Zeller, who comments from time to time in print, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer on job statistics, said good news can be found in an improving level of unemployment claims. The chief jobs fact scoreboard keeper said Ohio’s current level of new unemployment claims at 7,238 now is currently lower than the 8,109 that Ohio had during the fourth week of March 1999 by 10.7 percent.

While these numbers bode auspicious going forward, he again repeated past analysis that said the speed of Ohio’s recovery has been continuously too slow. “The lingering weakness is consistent with the job data in Ohio released for February 2015 on March 20, 2015,” Zeller wrote today. He added, “Through February 2015 Ohio currently has a streak of twenty-eight consecutive months with Ohio’s job growth rate below the USA national average. That streak was lengthened in February 2015 to a period of time that currently exceeds two full years by four months.”

Put in context by Mr. Zeller, “the fresh improvement in this week’s Ohio new unemployment claims is a potentially favorable leading indicator in advance of new Ohio job data for March 2015 scheduled for release on Friday, April 17 that will measure whether Ohio’s continually below average recovery is finally improving to national norms.”

Kasich ‘Ohio Story’ Turnaround Shy Jobs

Don’t break out the champagne yet Mr. Zeller warns. “Since Ohio has still not recovered 52,800 of the jobs that it lost as a result of the deep and lengthy 2007-2009 national ‘Great Recession,’ Ohio still remains 249,000 jobs short of the jobs that it has lost since the 2000-2002 national recession more than a decade ago,” he said. According to Mr. Zeller’s email today, “The improvement in today’s data on new claims is a clearly long awaited favorable development. Further improvements in subsequent weeks are still urgently needed so that 249,000 Ohio workers who have lost their jobs since 2000 and the 52,800 workers who still cannot find a job following the very deep and lengthy 2007 Great Recession will be able to find a new job.”

Data compiled by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows Ohio, at 37th in the nation, is among the 15 bottom-dwelling states in job creation. Gov. Kasich will join the first rodeo of Republican presidential hopefuls who will trek to early primary state New Hampshire in a couple weeks to see whether they can move the needle on their presidential aspirations.

For Gov. Kasich, if the only state to win is Ohio, he’s got a good shot at that, based on results from a new Quinnipiac University swing-state poll out today. To win the presidency, every candidate since 1960 has had to win two states in the troika of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania targeted in the poll. In Florida and Pennsylvania, Gov. Kasich is north of zero by one point, so he’s has a big selling job ahead of him. Being unable to out perform the national average on job creation for 28 months, it seems, is not a winning hand in this card game.