Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich has another 14 months until voters decide whether to rehire him or not. The former nine-term congressman, Fox TV political talk show host and Wall Street banker turned governor, who won by a small margin in 2010 with the help of Tea Party activists who have since abandoned him, appears to not only have lost support of this key group in his voter base as Republican activists find fault with him on issues from budgets to Medicaid to right-to-work legislation, but appears to have lost his self-proclaimed powers to create the number and quality of jobs he said only his "moving at the speed of business" policies and programs could produce at the hands of JobsOhio, his pet but private job-creation group.
A new report released Sunday by Policy Matters Ohio, a progressive economic think tank from Cleveland makes a statistical argument that Ohio under this governor and a Republican-led legislature is "stuck" in low gear.
Gov. Kasich and his administration gladly embraced the label of "Ohio miracle" slapped on his 34 months in office as descriptive of his record on job creation so far.
One definition of miracle says it's a "surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency."
PMO's economic research—"Stuck: State of Working Ohio 2013"—argues that Kasich's miracle may really be a mirage, a word whose definition includes "optical illusion, hallucination, phantasmagoria, apparition, fantasy, chimera, vision, figment of one's imagination."
According to PMO, labor force participation in the Buckeye State was at a 33-year low at the end of 2012, and that the state's job growth is fourth worst among states since 2005. Wages for working Ohioans has "inched up just a penny last year from already-low levels."
Commenting on Ohio's tough labor market, PMO's executive director and report author Amy Hanauer said, "It’s time to change what we’re doing in Ohio. We should be investing in education, retrofitting Ohio for a new energy economy, and restoring public jobs. These three smart moves would create jobs now and position Ohio better for the future."
In the aftermath of a terribly deep recession, in a weak recovery, with shrinking wages and growing disparities, Hanauer says Ohio is stuck in a sort of economic limbo.
Weak recovery: After the 1990 and 1981 recessions, Ohio fully recovered lost jobs within about 3.5 years or less, yet we haven’t recovered jobs lost in either of the last two recessions more than five and 12 years after the 2007 and 2001 recessions.
Worse growth than nation: Since 2005 when tax cuts were passed here promising job creation, Ohio lost more than 3.8 percent of its jobs while the nation added 1.8 percent. Only three states lost more jobs than Ohio since then. Our cutting public jobs is in contrast to how we’ve behaved after previous recessions and is contributing to the weakness of this recovery.
Low labor force participation: Labor force participation was lower than at any time since 1979 when we began tracking it. Male labor participation fell to an all-time low in 2012 and female labor participation fell for an unprecedented four years straight. Except for the last few years, African American employment-to-population ratios have not been this bad since 1985.
Low wages: Ohio’s median wage nudged up by a paltry two cents between 2011 and 2012 and remains, with the exception of last year, lower than it has been since 1996 adjusted for inflation. It now lags nearly 75 cents behind that of the US as a whole.
Enduring disparities: Women earned three dollars less per hour than men in Ohio in 2012 and the black-white wage gap in Ohio has grown to more than $3.50 an hour. At 14.6 percent, unemployment in the black community is more than twice as high as in the white community.
Tough times for young and prime-age workers: Not since 1985 has a smaller portion of prime-age workers (between 25 and 54) been in the Ohio labor force. Young people face recessionary unemployment levels when they should be starting on a career ladder.
Long-term unemployment persists: In 2012, more than one in three of those without jobs had been out of work more than six months. Prior to this recession, 1983 was the only year when this share was so high. By late 2012, it had been this high for three years in a row.
More to do? You betcha
Gov. Kasich's public relations plan is to claim that he inherited a state $8 billion in debt and in economic free fall, and that his policies alone have turned the state around, but that there is "more to do."
Based on progressive leaning PMO's report, saying there is "more to do is" is an understate of giant magnitude. In fact, PMO's research supports research done by Matt Mayer of Opportunity Ohio, a conservative leaning economic think tank based in Columbus.
Writing in the Akron Beacon Journal, Mayer explained how Gov. Kasich’s "loud and self-congratulatory speeches about an alleged 'Ohio Miracle' distract from the truth that private sector job creation has all but stalled here in America’s seventh largest state." What does Mayer base his conclusion on?
- From June 2012 through March 2013, Ohio added only 3700 private sector jobs.
- Since the start of 2013, Ohio has lost a net 1700 jobs.
- In Gov. Strickland’s last year in office, Ohio added 99,900 jobs.
- In 2012, long after Gov. Kasich’s policies were set in place, Ohio grew only 42,300 jobs. This number is 58% below 2011.
- In Gov. Strickland’s last year, Ohio ranked 16th best in private sector job growth nationwide. Under Gov. Kasich’s leadership (or lack thereof), Ohio now ranks 29th best. So much for all the bragging we heard in campaign speeches last year about putting Ohioans back to work.
Kasich dismisses PPP poll
At a media event held Friday in a Columbus suburb, Kasich got testy when asked by CGE that in light of a recent poll by one of the nation's most well-respected polling firms he trails his little known Democratic challenger by three percentage points, and that he's showing weakness with independent and women voters.
Repeating again what he's said before about polls, that he doesn't pay attention to then, Ohio's governor sought to discredit the bona fides of Public Policy Polling, the polling firm that showed Kasich, once believed to be the inevitable choice of Ohio voters, isn't inevitable.
Subscribe. It's ALWAYS free. Send news or tips to email@example.com. join me on Google+, Pinterest or Twitter, or watch my YouTube videos.