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Gov. John Kasich's job numbers: When theory meets reality

When Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich joins state and local officials Tuesday, to celebrate an expansion of Cheryl’s, a nationally known, homegrown cookie and sweets business headquartered in a Columbus suburb he lived in and represented in Congress for 18 years, he'll evangelize his standard belief that tax cuts combined with business savvy professionals and common sense government regulations produces positive employment results.

Gov. Kasich, a comeback governor.
Gov. Kasich, a comeback governor.
Officials with JobsOhio will join Gov. John Kasich Tuesday for a ground breaking ceremony for expansion of a local cookie company.

Part 1: Economic Modeling Statistics Inc.

The glib governor, who recently reflected on his first three years as executive of the executive branch so far and admitted he needs to think more before he talks, has been a relentless cheerleader for polishing up Ohio's image as a business friendly state with a pro-growth agenda. More recently, the first-term governor has shifted to using "raw job"numbers to measure Ohio's progress in reclaiming some of the hundreds of thousands of jobs it lost, both public and private, when the Great Recession of 2007 decimated it and virtually every other state in the nation.

Using this method, the Buckeye State under Kasich's leadership places in the top ten of states at seventh. According to Kasich's campaign website, "After losing 350,000 private sector jobs between January 2007 and January 2011, Ohio has added 170,500 private sector jobs and improved from 47th to 9th in private sector job creation."

That's true. But how true?

When citizen Kasich ran for governor in 2010, he accused Ted Strickland, a first-term Democratic governor who inherited a state already sliding from greatness, of not "getting the jobs" done, in the teeth of the worst economic storm to hit the nation since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But nearly four years later, over 400,000 Ohio workers still remain jobless. Employment based on a percentage of the workforce, widely agreed as a far more accurate measure of job creation progress than using raw numbers as the Kasich Administration does, has been studied by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Based on that analysis, Kasich's self-described "Ohio Miracle" may be more magic or mirage.

The Carey School ranks Ohio 44th in private-sector job growth in 2013l, which is a sharp decline from it's 13th place ranking in 2011. "That’s a long way from ninth," Brent Larkin writing for the Cleveland Plain Dealer said. "In fact, in 2013, unemployment in Ohio actually increased. It is now nearly a half-point higher than the national average."

Tomorrow Gov. Kasich will be among apostles, disciples and acolytes who have helped craft the narrative that jobs have been created—maybe as many as 170,000—with more on the way. The event at Cheryl's will drive that point home.

"When Ohioans elected John Kasich and Mary Taylor in November 2010, they put their faith in these leaders to fix a state that was on the brink of financial ruin and had suffered massive job losses over the previous four year," the Kasich-Taylor website proclaims.

CGE asked Economic Modeling Statistics Inc., Opportunity Ohio, Policy Matters Ohio and the Buckeye Institute to weigh-in with their job creation numbers. This will be the first of a four-part series that attempts to sort fact from fiction in Gov. Kasich's "Comeback Ohio" story.

Here's what Joshua Wright at EMSI, which says it turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work, reported on Gov. Kasich's private and public sector job numbers from 2010 to 2013, including the year-over-year differences from 2010 to 2011, 2011 to 2012, and 2012 to 2013. For the public sector, Wright did not include federal government jobs in Ohio. EMSI job numbers are annual averages based on state and federal sources.

Private sector jobs: [See Infographic for EMSI job details]

YOY for 2011 = 77,680.
YOY for 2012 = 88,635.
YOY for 2013 = 50,515
Totals = 216,830

Public sector jobs: [See infographic for EMSI job details]

YOY for 2011 = minus 13,708
YOY for 2012 = minis 8,254
YOR for 2013 = 9,395
Totals = 31,357

Total net jobs, subtracting public sector from private sector jobs so far equals 185,473.

Kasich critics, including his Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald and others, argue that many of the 77,680 jobs created in 2011, Kasich's first year in office, a year in which JobsOhio, his signature creation to shift economic development from the public sector to a private and nontransparent nonprofit, had been created by a friendly Republican legislature but barely operational, were jobs already in Gov. Strickland's pipeline from the recovery that started on his watch.

Under his own steam, Gov. Kasich's job numbers have drifted down. On an appearance on NBC's widely watched Sunday political talk show "Meet the Press," Gov. Kasich told show host David Gregory that Ohio's economy had stalled. Gov. Kasich has long attributed his inability to "move the needle" on job creation to "headwinds from Washington."

Kasich knows but refuses to acknowledge that had President Barack Obama not come to the rescue of two of Detroit's Big Three auto manufacturers, hundreds of thousands of car-related supply chain jobs in Ohio would have evaporated over night, leaving the state a real economic basket case.

But the president's stimulus package, a package virtually all Republicans fought to stop or whittle down, cannot be seen as anything other than spending that delivered to Gov. Kasich a jobs climate that was far better than would have been the case had the president listened to Kasich and others, including Mitt Romney, who argued Detroit should be allowed to go bankrupt.

Meanwhile, as the EMSI data points out, the public sector jobs that continued to disappear on Kasich's watch paid good money—over $50,000 per job—compared to the mostly under $15/hour private sector jobs he sees as the only jobs worth talking about.

EMSI was asked, as were the other job source groups, to state whether any other state has pursued economic development through private group, as Kasich said other states would do as they rush to follow the "Ohio Model." "We're not attuned to each state's economic development functions, so I'm not sure of what other states are doing," Wright wrote via email. "I do know Iowa []has] some sort of private-public entity.

Part two of this series will provide information from Opportunity Ohio.

The news article Gov. John Kasich's job numbers: When theory meets reality appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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