Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recovery? What recovery?

Governor Strickland likes to use Ohio's unemployment rate as a measure of what he considers a rebounding economy.

Apparently 17 straight months of double digit unemployment is satisfactory to him.

But after the most recent unemployment report from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, I was curious about another number I saw highlighted.

The labor force participation rate.

What is that? It's the percentage of working-age persons in an economy who are employed or are unemployed but looking for a job.

In other words, it's a fair measure of the percentage of Ohioans gainfully employed or think well enough of the economy that they are currently pursuing employment. The higher the percentage, the better.

What was that percentage in the most recent report?


If that sounds low, it's because it is.

In fact, it's the lowest the rate has been since January.

I took the liberty of contacting the ODJFS and they provided me with a breakdown of the labor force participation rates from January 2007-present. The only time the rate has been worse during the Governor's entire four year term was one month in 2009 when we hit 65.7%.

Other than that, the most recent month of Ted Strickland's term is as bad as it's ever been.

If Ohio's economy was improving as drastically as Strickland claims, wouldn't this rate be increasing over time? Instead it has regressed each of the past three months, going from 66.5% in May to 65.8% in August. No matter how you cut it, that means ever-increasing numbers of Ohioans are losing their jobs and have become so discouraged as to give up trying to find work.

Ohio deserves better.

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