Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting real on Ohio's jobs crisis

I've been on the case of the Ohio media for awhile now regarding the reporting of Ohio's employment situation.

I've contended that state reporters simply spewing quotes from the ODJFS press release announcing the latest unemployment rate or simply stating whether the rate went up or down doesn't provide the public with an honest analysis of Ohio's employment situation.

Ultimately, jobs are issue #1 on the minds of voters. They deserve to be educated on what's really happening out there.

One specific variable I've been pushing to be discussed is the movement of the labor force numbers. The labor force is defined as those in the workforce or actively looking for work. When people stop looking for work, they drop out of the labor force and in turn, drop out of the formula that determines the unemployment rate. To put it simply, the less people in the workforce, the better the unemployment rate. But it also means people aren't looking for work in Ohio, and that means bad news for Ohio's economy.

Now taking that into consideration, finally someone in Ohio's media took that extra step and is working to better educate Ohioans:

From WCMH TV in Columbus:



Mark Hudson personifies what happens when the public is miseducated by the media on the unemployment rate. He thinks the number simply going up or down determines whether things are worsening or improving.

As I've contended for months on 3BP, things aren't that simple.

The economist interviewed by WCMH puts it very plainly for all to understand:
When the number of people looking for work declines, the unemployment rate declines and that is actually what's been happening over the last half dozen months.

[...]

And depending on how fast they come back into the labor force, we may actually see the unemployment rate go up which will not be a bad thing.
In other words, once the unemployment rate starts increasing, provided it includes an increase in the labor force, it will mean Ohio's job situation is starting to improve.

Unfortunately, Ohio has a long way to go before that happens. In fact, according to the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ted Strickland's term will be the first time since 1976(as far back as the online data provides) that a Governor has seen Ohio's labor force decline over the course of a four year term.

Maybe that was the Turnaround that Ted Strickland promised Ohio.

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