It’s too bad that Ohio under Gov. John R. Kasich has performed so poorly in creating jobs since the CEO-style leader took executive control in 2011. For the last 30 straight months, Ohio has failed to break even with the national job creation average, experts say, underperforming it in some months by as much as 40 percent. Ohio remains a poor performer according to metrics analyzed by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which places the Buckeye State in the back of the pack.
Kasich’s Job Record Far From Miracle
Gov. Kasich is running for president on his record in Ohio, which so far isn’t looking like a model any other state or the nation would want to follow. One of Ohio’s leading economic analysts, George Zeller in Cleveland, says Ohio still has not recovered 45,000 of the jobs that it lost as a result of the deep and lengthy 2007-2009 national “Great Recession.” Zeller, who remains unchallenged on the accuracy of his analysis, notes that Ohio has yet to replenish the 241,200 jobs lost since the 2000-2002 national recession more than a decade ago, when Republicans controlled all government gears from all statewide offices to both legislative chambers as they do now. But for a brief four-year period from 2006-2010 when Democrats occupied four of the five major statewide offices, and for a meager two year period from 2008-2010 when Democrats held a majority in the House, Ohio state-level government has been under the firm and unrelenting grip of Republicans, who have repeatedly cut income tax rates while simultaneously shifting the tax burden from business tto people.
“The slight deterioration in today’s data on new claims is an unfortunate development,” Zeller notes. He adds, “Further improvements in subsequent weeks are still urgently needed so that 241,200 Ohio workers who have lost their jobs since 2000 and the 45,000 workers who still cannot find a job following the very deep and lengthy 2007 Great Recession will be able to find a new job.”
Solid May Jobs Report
Contrast Kasich’s job creation record with Obama’s on the national level, and it’s easy to see why today’s report was described as “solid.” About 280,000 jobs were added last month, and figures for March and April were revised up by a combined 32,000 jobs. Experts even saw some hints of wage growth. From the Bureau of Labor Standards comes today’s news that, in May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $24.96. Over the year, Bill McBride at Calculated Risk says, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3 percent.
Key to the recovery is rebounding public sector jobs. Gov. Kasich wants to further downsize government, and has contributed to that in various ways, including efforts to privatize formerly public sector jobs. As recently as last week, he attacked unions representing home health care givers by rescinding the collective bargaining rights made possible by former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Ohio’s governor loves to talk about private sector jobs, which generally pay less and come with fewer benefits than public sector jobs that often require more training and education. Kasich appears to want public sector workers to have it as bad off as the average private sector workers, whose wages have stagnated for decades now as corporate boards invest in shareholder returns instead of workers’ wages. State and local governments had lost jobs for four straight years, but in May, state and local governments added 15,000 jobs. State and local government employment is now up 160,000 from the bottom, but still 598,000 below the peak.
Ohio Recovering Too Slow
“The speed of Ohio’s recovery has previously been continuously too slow,” Zeller said. The “lingering weakness” is consistent with the job data in Ohio released for April 2015, he said. Through April 2015 Ohio currently has a streak of thirty consecutive months with Ohio’s job growth rate below the USA national average. Zeller said that streak was lengthened in April 2015 to a period of time that currently exceeds two full years by six months.
“In that context, the fresh slight deterioration in this week’s Ohio new unemployment claims is a potentially unfavorable leading indicator in advance of new Ohio job data for May 2015 scheduled for release on Friday, June 19, that will measure whether Ohio’s continually below average recovery is finally improving to national norms.