The good and bad news for the nation, according to information released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services [ODJFS], is that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in February even as the unemployment rate actually ticked up from 6.6 percent in January to 6.7 percent in February.
BLS data showed the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +75,000 to +84,000, and the change for January was revised from +113,000 to +129,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January were 25,000 higher than previously reported, as reported by Calculated Risk.
In Ohio, where jobs and job creation has been and will continue to be the central issue in this year's race for governor between major party candidates—incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich and Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald—the unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in January, down from 7.1 percent in December 2013. Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 16,700 over the month, from a revised 5,268,900 in December to 5,285,600 in January.
Drilling down on job numbers
From January 2013 to January 2014, nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 67,100. The private service-providing sector added 49,000 jobs over the year. Government lost 3,700 jobs through federal (-2,400) and state (-1,700) government. Local government posted a slight increase (+400).
ODJFS reported that the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in January was 395,000, down 16,000 from 411,000 in December. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed has decreased by 26,000 in the past 12 months from 421,000. The January unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 7.3 percent in January 2013.
The U.S. unemployment rate for January was 6.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent in December and from 7.9 percent in January 2013.
Kasich buoyed by job increases
Gov. John R. Kasich, elected in 2010 and running for a second term this year, wasted no time hopping on the good news bandwagon. "My hat is off to the hardworking men and women of our state and to the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are the engines of job creation. There’s certainly more work to do, but by tearing down barriers to job growth, our jobs-friendly policies are helping Ohioans unleash their natural energy, creativity and work ethic and they’re lifting up our state," Gov. Kasich said in prepared remarks.
Not far behind was an equally effusive statement from Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina), who said Ohio continues to demonstrate that it is indeed a national leader in job creation. "These numbers are proof that our pro-growth policies are steadily creating an environment where businesses can flourish and Ohioans can prosper," he said.
The outgoing House Speaker pointed to BLS figures that show Ohio has created more than 238,000 private-sector jobs in the last three years—67,700 more than the Department originally believed as well as 70,000 new private-sector jobs in the past 12 months alone—under the Kasich Administration.
"When Governor Kasich took office in 2011, he pledged to revitalize our state and make Ohio more attractive for business once again," he said, adding that at the same time, Republicans regained control of the Ohio House and joined the governor in his commitment to make job-creation our number one priority. Batchelder, who received an award for his conservatism over the years at the CPAC conclave, thanked Gov. Kasich for his work to create jobs.
"Make no mistake: our work is not done. I invite all members of the General Assembly to join legislative Republicans and Governor Kasich in ensuring that we continue down the path of economic restoration so that all Ohioans can have a brighter future," he said.
From Washington, Ohio Congressman and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner was agush with praise for Gov. Kasich. Congressman Boehner welcomed the report that showed Ohio has created 238,000 new private-sector jobs since January 2011 under Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Congressman Boehner attributed the increase to Gov. Kasich's’s "policies of low taxes, balanced budgets and education reform – a stark contrast to the agenda of President Obama and his Democratic-controlled Senate in Washington, who have pressed for higher taxes and increased government spending and placed harmful new burdens on small businesses, such as the president’s health care law, that have made it harder to create jobs."
Fitz weighs in
A spokesman for the FitzGerald Campaign told CGE today that Gov. Kasich's job numbers show just how far away he is from the national growth model. .
"Ohio continues to trail the nation in unemployment and the past two years have actually been significantly worse than what was previously reported," said Lauren Hitt, press secretary for the FitzGerald-Neuhardt campaign. "Instead of continuing to cut taxes for the wealthiest, the Governor needs to focus on policies that grow the economy from the middle out and allow hardworking, everyday Ohioans to see their hard work pay off."
The view from Democrats was backed up today by a report from Policy Matters, Ohio, a progressive economic think tank based in Cleveland. PMO admitted the revisions show that previous estimates were below actual numbers, but said the data also suggest that the state is gaining slowly. Ohio's relative job growth "still trailed that of the nation over the past 12 months, and that calendar year 2013 produced the slowest growth rate of any year since the recession," said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher with Policy Matters Ohio
Gov. Kasich often points to a change in "state attitude" and response time from JobsOhio, his pet, private and very controversial job group, as proof his brand of government works so well, he once called it a "miracle."
Among the governor's critics, which are hardly all Democrats since the emergence of a new band of anti-Kasich crusadersconsisting of the Libertarian Party candidate Charlie Earl and former Tea Party activists since turned against him over expanding Medicaid and other fiscal issues, Democrat Ed FitzGerald still wields the largest megaphone.
FitzGerald and others say Gov.Kasich's "Ohio Miracle" isn't that miraculous, pointing to state rankings by job creation that places the Buckeye State in the mid to low 40s. In 2012, Mitt Romney admitted that the economy was no longer in freefall, but the turnaround was stale compared to what he and his policies could do. With good reason, FitzGerald will employ the same tactic against Gov. Kasich as Romney did against Obama two years ago.
Today's job figures showed Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 16,700 from 5,268,900 in December 2013 to 5,285,600 in January 2014.
The Labor Force Participation Rate was unchanged in February at 63.0 percent compared, to a 20-year norm of 67 percent. % rate that was normal over the last 20 years. Explaining the gap, changing demographics, primarily the retirement of aging baby boomers, are behind the disparity.
Not mentioned in today's job numbers are the ranks of long-term unemployed people (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), which increased by 203,000, bringing the total number of long-term jobless workers to 3.8 million.
An extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits has been unsuccessful, as Congressional Republicans continue to block passage of benefits that expired at the end of last year. As of today, 2 million jobless workers have lost benefits, and experts believe that number will continue to rise.
The news article February 2014 jobs report boost Gov. Kasich, JobsOhio job creation claims appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.
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