Mainstream media almost always botches monthly job reports, focusing on the unemployment rate with little or no context added.

Plunderbund has been the lone voice, daring month in and month out, to report what other media won’t, that Ohio under Gov. John Kasich hasn’t been able to meet or beat the national job creation average for 43 straight months. As reported here, even the well-respected W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University ranks Ohio in the bottom half of states on various job metrics.

Year-over-year, Ohio ranks 28 in private job creation. In a 12-month moving average tracking government jobs, Ohio ranks 21st, up just 771 in this category, one of 20 such tracking categories.

Ohio’s big legacy media generally sugar-coats reports to make the state’s lame duck CEO-style governor, aided by his friendly uber-right-wing legislature, look good when they’ve done precious little since the Great Recession stopped sapping the Buckeye State of thousands of jobs per month to make things better, faster.

With CBS “Battleground Tracker” reporting that Hillary Clinton has extended her lead over Donald Trump in Ohio to six points, 46 percent to 40 percent, Gov. Kasich’s decision to stop talking about Trump—”My actions speak louder than words,” he told the Dayton Daily News—is classic basic Kasich. If he’s done with something, you should be done with it, too, especially if it requires an explanation. which as he demonstrated on the campaign trail in over 100 town hall events can be problematic for Ohio’s 69th leader.

Have you heard the good news? Ohio’s preeminent job number cruncher, George Zeller, has reported that Ohio finally had two good months in a row, June and July, of job growth better than the national average. After 43 straight months of subpar job growth, Ohio’s job growth rate of 1.76 percent finally beat the USA current job growth rate of 1.70, Mr. Zeller said, giving credit to two key factors that helped Gov. Kasich break his too long and too slow streak.

The first was a rebound in manufacturing jobs, which as Mr. Zeller accurately points out are always the key industry that over the last few decades has driven Ohio’s recessions and recoveries. Zeller is located in Cleveland, where the population in 1950 was nearly 915,000 but has nose-dived to about 388,000 today, and seen first-hand the role manufacturing jobs play in the economy of a community.

The second factor is public policy in Ohio and in Washington. “The worst possible strategy that we can use during a bad recession is to cut government spending and government employment,” Zeller told Plunderbund. “The worst example of that in history took place in 1929 and during the early 1930’s, when this terrible blunder was the direct cause of the Great Depression,” he said, adding, “This time the same blunder did not cause another ‘Great Depression.’ Instead, it caused a deepening ‘Great Recession,’ from which the recovery has been way too slow for years now.”

His reading of the economic indicators report points out that the USA job growth rate slowed between June and July 2016, “a fact that almost no press covered,” he said. Meanwhile, the two good months in Ohio in manufacturing and government in June and July sped up Ohio’s job growth rate, which has been lagging.

These basic facts, he said via email, “are part of the standard curriculum in the eighth grade across all of Ohio’s schools. I continue to be astonished about how many people either did not pass the eighth grade in school, or else have forgotten what they were supposed to learn when they were in the eighth grade.” Zeller thinks others should know better, especially economic think tanks like the Buckeye Institute, and roundly criticized the Columbus-based pro-growth group for putting out “drivel saying that the growth in government during June and July, in contrast to continual cuts in government employment and spending that we have seen in numerous prior months both in 2016 and during prior years, was a terrible thing.”

Mr. Zeller said bluntly, “This is complete nonsense, of course.” The ideology that dominates materials from the Buckeye Institute, he said, “blinds them to what they learned in the eighth grade.” Instead they advocate what Gov. Kasich, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Rob Portman and Donald Trump all promote, more cuts in taxes and government spending.

“At the state level this has fallen heavily in Ohio in local government, an industry defined to include school districts (where most local government employment is), cities, townships, and similar municipal entities, and the 88 Ohio counties themselves.”

Zeller is troubled that it’s been official public policy in Ohio, under the Kasich Administration, to cut funding to these various local government entities. He says the result has been large job cuts in sheriffs, police, jails, schoolteachers, and a wide variety of other local government employees and functions. At the same time, he says, local entities have been forced to raise local regressive taxes on a widespread basis across the state, even as they cut employee numbers in local government.

“This did not happen only in Cuyahoga and Franklin Counties,” he observes. “Numerous smaller counties have suffered the same fate.” More than local chaos was the result,  he notes, as it led to a deterioration of a wide variety of services in counties large and small all over Ohio. Despite the increase in local government employment in Ohio during both June and July, the July figure also measured a small loss in federal government employment in Ohio.

“So, this ugly situation was not caused only by the state legislature’s continual blundering. The federal government has been whacking Ohio jurisdictions as well down at the Congress, at least until July,” he said.

The June and July 2016 job figures in Ohio were actually vindication of his recommendation, Zeller said. “We finally stopped cutting government employment for two consecutive months this summer, and the result was the end of the horrible 43 consecutive month streak of Ohio’s sub-par job growth.”

Zeller prides himself on what should be the solid standard for others, back up what you say with good, proven data. “The Buckeye Institute and our politicians in Columbus and Washington have no such data, since their tax cut strategy has failed utterly.”

 

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