COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE Opeditude) – On Friday new Ohio Gov. John Kasich got a glimpse of the jobs performance scoreboard coming his way next month.
The Ohio Dept. of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS), in cooperation with the U. S. Department of Labor, reported that the unemployment rate in Ohio in December was 9.6 percent, two ticks down from 9.8 in November. While high, it’s 1.2 percent down from the very high 10.8 percent, about 18 months ago, in June of 2009.
ODJFS also reported that Ohio lost 9,100 nonfarm wage and salary jobs, a reflection of continued economic bleeding. These numbers will be the last ones Kasich can lay at the feet of Gov. Ted Strickland, the Democrat he beat by only 77,300 votes statewide.
Starting with next month’s unemployment rate and jobs gained-or-lost numbers jobs, Ohioans will have a working scoreboard they can use to track whether Kasich and team can “move the needle” on jobs as quickly as they said was possible during last fall’s successful run for the office.
Can Kasich stop the bleeding, can he and his medical team of business experts stabilize the patient? Can they nurse Ohio back to health so it can walk, then run, then run to win, as Kasich said he wants to do at a press conference in Columbus last week.
“You can make it a John Kasich scorecard, but that’s not the way I think about this,” the Governor said in an answer to a reporter’s question about how Ohioans can tell whether job gains are tied to his policies or occurring as forecast by economists and CPAs who say the national economy is already on the mend.
Economic reports show that in 2010 Ohio was one of the top ten states in the nation for job creation. Gov. Strickland argued that it is the sixth-fastest growing economy in the nation.
Kasich counted the jobs lost under his opponent by posting a spinning jobs lost calculator on his campaign Website. It provided the numbers behind the campaign slogan that “Strickland just wasn’t getting the jobs done.”
While the downhill trend in the unemployment rate is good, it continues to paint a picture of a troubled state. At historically high and unacceptable levels, Gov. Kasich said what reporters already knew, it’s “agonizingly high.”
Kasich and his development director Mark Kvamme said repeatedly that they see the state “under siege” from companies who have left or are considering leaving but who might be convinced to stay if only the state had the right people, with the right focus, using the right tools in the right way. That “New Day, New Way,” scenario is the core of Kasich’s JobsOhio proposal to transition the state’s traditional public job creating agency into a new privatized company that he said can one day be self-sustaining, i.e., no longer using public funds and being free from the public oversight that comes with those funds.
Both Kasich and Kvamme recounted the bad taste they got on their first day on the job nine days ago when three Ohio-based auto-parts manufacturing companies called them to inform them of their plant closures.
Kasich and Kvamme used the word “focus” dozens of times in their half-hour talk, referring to the need to rethink and restructure the state’s job creation agenda, and the tools and personnel that can get Ohio back on the road to recovery again.
“You’re going to see successes,” Kasich said, adding, “We’ll let you know” when Ohio’s economy gets better. Saying the loss of two congressional seats is a realization of the “direction we’re heading,” Kasich lamented that Ohio is growing at slower pace than the rest of the country.
ODJFS’ monthly report, produced in cooperation with the U. S. Department of Labor, stated the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December at 567,000 – 13,000 fewer than in November. This represents a reduction of 71,000 [over the past 12 months] from 638,000.
Ohioans won’t have to wait in mystery about whether Gov. Kasich’s words are working or not. They will have the Kasich scoreboard to watch, as it tallies in real time how he’s doing. Runners take your mark.
ODJFS Unemployment Rates for December 2010
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