“We have a quite disappointing Ohio employment report this morning from ODJFS and BLS,” reported an expert who follows job creation numbers religiously. According to Cleveland-based research analyst George Zeller, Ohio gained only 1,500 jobs in March based on new figures released this morning. At the same time, Zeller notes that the February Ohio job figure released last month was revised downward by 2,100 this morning.
March 2015 was the 29th consecutive month when Ohio’s job growth rate was below the USA national average, a fact few media outlets will even mention. And when Gov. Kasich appears on Meet The Press this Sunday to talk about “how Ohio’s story is setting an example for other states and the country to follow and how by working together, we can find real solutions to our challenges,” he won’t talk about this most recent disappointing fact. And it’s unlikely Chuck Todd, ringleader at MTP, will bring it up either. For obvious reasons, Kasich’s Ohio story, which presumes he’s a master job creator, leaves out facts that rub his glossy story raw.
Kasich Job Wizardry Goes Bust Again
In his regular review of job numbers, Mr. Zeller notes that the year-over-year not seasonally adjusted Ohio job growth rate for March 2015 is 1.45 percent, which pales in comparison to the USA job growth rate for March 2015 (released two weeks ago) is 2.27 percent. “Thus, Ohio’s job growth rate was below the USA national average once again in March 2015,” he said.
The estimated Ohio unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent in March. The USA unemployment rate was also unchanged in March at 5.5 percent. The large decline in the USA labor force in March of 96,000 was not replicated in Ohio, where it increased by a small 2,000.
Zeller offers a note of sunshine. He says the unemployment rate estimate in Ohio for March was actually better than the normally more reliable employment estimate from the Current Employment Statistics survey. Ohio lost 2,000 employed workers and gained 5,000 unemployed workers, for an estimated net change of -7,000 at the same time when Ohio gained 1,500 jobs. “Thus, the March Ohio unemployment rate is very slightly overestimated, an unusual situation,” he said Friday.
Ohio Story: 29 Shades Of Dark Gray
Other experts who watch these numbers also commented on them. Hannah Halbert, researcher with Policy Matters Ohio says full recovery is still far away because job growth has been so slow. Sectors she suggests focusing on include infrastructure, transit systems, and restoration of state aid to local governments.
Gov. Kasich boasts he has produced a $2 billion surplus, and he’s right as far as that goes. The surplus he prides himself on creating, what created by withholding billions in transfer payments to local governments and schools, among others. Also not noted, are the public sector jobs that are part of any good, broadbased recovery that are not on the rebound, in part due to Kasich’s big cuts to local governments.
Halbert says focusing on longer-term trends rather than month-to-month changes is best. Disappointing to her is Ohio’s track record over the last year. Ohio jobs grew by 1.5 percent; the national average over that time was 2.3 percent. “Since the recession began, jobs in the nation as a whole have grown by 2 percent. Ohio has yet to break even,” she said.
Ohio Job Data For March 2015 Alarmingly Weak
“Following this weak performance in March, Ohio currently remains 55,000 jobs short of the employment level that Ohio had prior to the 2007 ‘Great Recession’. This is still a loss of -1.0% of the jobs that Ohio had prior to the ‘Great Recession’ eight years ago,” he notes. Zeller, who comments from time to time as a reliable source for The Cleveland Plain Dealer and other outlets, said Ohio currently remains 251,200 jobs below the number of jobs that Ohio had a decade and a half ago in 2000, a 2000-2015 loss of 4.5%.”
As a result, “Ohio continues to have an urgent need to speed up Ohio’s recovery, so that the 55,000 Ohio workers who lost their jobs during the ‘Great Recession’ can find a new job, and so that the 251,200 workers who still do not have a job following the 2000-2002 recession can find a job. Neither of these happened in March.”