As John Kasich plans to announce his official entrance into the 2016 Republican race for the White House on Tuesday, new and unfriendly numbers show Ohio has now under-performed the national average on job growth for 32 straight months, with previous month’s job gain statistics revised downward.
Ohio’s Too Slow Growth
On the sixth anniversary of the start of the nation’s recovery from the 2007 recession, job stats show all too dramatically that the Buckeye State still struggles to regain jobs lost. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday that 1,900 jobs were lost in June while May’s gain was revised downward. Ohio has added only 26,800 jobs in the last six months compared to the nation and most other states that have regained the jobs lost in the recession last year.
“After what originally appeared to be a strong showing in May, the June data is wholly disappointing,” Hannah Halbert, a researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, said. “Rather than celebrating Ohio recapturing the jobs lost to the recession, we see that we are further from the goalpost.”
In addition to the glum review by PMO of Ohio’s lackluster job performance, George Zeller, a leading jobs data cruncher based in Cleveland, reminded that Ohio is still recovering from both the 2000s recession and the 2007 “Great Recession.” As he’s done before, Zeller said Ohio’s growth remains too slow and is well below the USA national average.
32 Straight Months Underperforming Nation
“The new figures mean that the speed at which Ohio is gaining jobs during an economic recovery continues to be alarmingly too slow,” Zeller told me via email. For perspective, Zeller notes that Ohio gained 75,100 jobs during 2012; 76,700 during 2013; 72,000 for all of 2014. Zeller judges the gains as growth still below the national average level of employment growth. “During the first six months of 2015 Ohio has gained 26,800 jobs,” he said, adding, “Ohio’s employment growth is once again below the USA national average, with a newly extended streak of thirty-two months in a row with a sub-par and too slow rate of employment growth. At the current sub-par rate of job growth in Ohio during June 2015, it will take Ohio 3 years to recover the jobs that Ohio previously lost during a combination of the 2000s recession and the 2007 ‘Great Recession.’ That is extremely troubling.”
WP Carey State Rankings: Ohio at 31st Y-T-D
The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University ranks state job performance. Employment growth surged at the national level in 2014, with gains not seen since 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration, a release from the end of March said. Overall, ASU said, the job-growth rate for the United States in 2014 was an increase of 1.9 percent, the fastest pace since the 2.2 percent gain recorded in 2000. The number of jobs added nationwide in 2014 was 2.65 million. Final, revised numbers on state and city job growth for the year 2014 as a whole are out, and Gov. Kasich’s performance puts Ohio in the bottom half of states at 31st in year-to-date analysis of nonfarm employment.
PMO’s analysis of job stats show private-sector jobs have grown at a small pace since the start of the recession (0.3 percent), with the largest growth coming from educational and health services (98,900). The loss of public sector work (-38,100), particularly jobs in local government (-35,800), has dragged down the state’s recovery.
“Gains in the private sector have not made up for losses in public sector jobs,” Halbert, a PMO researcher, said. “Tax cuts, paid for in part by cuts to local government, were touted to increase jobs, but that has not materialized. Local government jobs matter. Local government provides vital public services that make communities great. Job loss, whether it’s the loss of a teacher, firefighter, or an autoworker, hurts families and our economy.”
Unemployment remains unchanged at 5.2 percent, but an estimated 13,000 people stopped working or actively seeking work in June. Since the recession began, Ohio’s labor force has shrunk by 235,000, PMO reported.
“Ohio is not broke but our policies are,” Halbert said. “We should make investments that lead to long-term growth and shared prosperity. Instead of tax cuts we could be supporting local governments, education, and infrastructure. These investments build stable communities and expand opportunity.”