Ohio job numbers are finally out again, after a contentious government shutdown interrupted the usual release and analysis. But as ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, what the job figures themselves signify is up for debate.
Ohio’s latest unemployment rate is at 7.5 percent. That’s slightly above the national rate of 7.3, a finding that’s not lost on Hannah Halbert. She’s a researcher with the left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio. Halbert says the September and October numbers indicate lackluster growth.
“Overall for those two months, the state only added 2,600 jobs," says Halbert. "And that’s a pretty poor showing. So our 12-month growth rate for Ohio is now .5 percent….compared to the nation which is growing at 1.7 percent.”
Halbert says tax cuts enacted since 2005 have failed to deliver on promises of faster job growth. She says more investment in human capital – namely education and training – will pay off better in the long run.
Ben Johnson of Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services puts a different spin on the figures. He says there are many ways to read the latest report….
“….but ultimately what you get to, is that the job market is strengthening, the economy is recovering, but it’s happening very slowly,” he says.
Johnson says there have been roughly 13,000 white collar and government jobs shed in the past two months. However, he says there’s also some positive trends in private sector employment.
“It is actually increasing faster than employment as a whole. That state added 10,800 private sector jobs over those two months, and private sector employment actually is the highest it’s been since late 2008.”
Whether the latest job numbers indicate growth or stagnation, there’s little argument Ohio’s rate of recovery will fuel the coming 2014 campaigns, with both major parties taking credit -- or assigning blame -- as they see fit.