Ohio Gov. John Kasich is out testing the presidential waters for 2016. While the governor may want people to believe he can walk on water, a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows he better take his water-wings with him because he might find himself treading water at best and submerged at worst, in light of earning reports on how the state stakes up to other states and the national average.
Ohio remains 37th in the national in job creation, as determined by the well-respected W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and has consistently failed to break even with national job creation for 27 straight months. But when it comes to personal income in Ohio for 2014, it finally matches the nation at 3.9 percent. Ohio’s annual personal income on a per capita basis was $42,571, ranking the state in the bottom half of states at 29th. Per capita personal income in the United States was $46,129. The report ranked Connecticut first at $62,467 and Mississippi last at $34,333.
Forty-five states including Ohio experienced personal income growth in 2014 over 2013. That growth ranged from 0.5 percent in Nebraska to 5.7 percent in Alaska and Oregon. The report defined personal income including wages and other earnings from investments or Social Security payments, among other criteria. Again below the national average, net earnings grew by 3.5 in Ohio between 2013 and 2014 while during the same period 4 percent was the national average. And since inflation was way low at 1.3 percent in 2014, personal income growth in Ohio and other states exceeded that figure.
It’s no secret that workers’ wages have stagnated for decades, and net earnings in 2014 even though up don’t yet prove wages are growing again. In Ohio, the report said, personal income and net earnings growth are only slight better than over the past few years. Net earnings in Ohio grew by 3.6 percent in 2012 but slumped to only 1.6 percent in 2013, not a good benchmark to point to for Ohio’s governor who thinks his work in Ohio is a good model for the nation. Analysis of the report shows the health care and social assistance segment contributed the most to personal income growth in Ohio in 2014, while construction ranked second with manufacturing of durable goods in third place. Nationally, the report notes, professional, scientific and technical services were the largest contributing sectors.
Unfortunately for the Kasich Administration, Ohio experienced a decline in earnings in theses key sectors: farming, information, military and state and local government. In the U.S., by contrast, farming and military segments were the only areas to see earning declines. When Great Lake states were compared to each other, Ohio did perform better than its regional neighbors, which were pegged at 3.2 percent compared to 3.9 in the Buckeye State.