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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    Ohio is an economic basket case 

    Add this bit of cheery news to Ohio's economic larder:
    The Longaberger Co . - 784 employees "laid off" (that means adios, baby, more than likely forever). The layoffs come at its Hartville (73) and Frazeyburg manufacturing plants rather than at the Big Basket headquarters in Newark.

    The good news is that the cuts are fewer than the 970 that had been anticipated in July because 116 employees (link requires subscription) retired, took jobs elsewhere or decided to pursue other interests.

    Ohio Edison - 205 employees of parent FirstEnergy terminated, including at its Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants. (Will the last person out please turn off the reactor?)

    Meanwhile, more Northeast Ohio public companies are reporting improved earnings, and Ohio actually gained jobs (don't ask what kind and what they pay) in July. These economic plusses aren't as ironic as they might seem.
    "Much of the improvement came from past cost-cutting," concluded Thomas W. Gerdel of The Plain Dealer. "Companies reduced workforces, closed and consolidated plants and operations, cut inventories and implemented lean business methods."

    In the 16 swing states, where both President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry are concentrating their campaigns, 315,900 jobs have been lost since Bush became president in January 2001.

    John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, was in Ohio Tuesday. He asked those attending an Ohio AFL-CIO convention in Columbus if they were really going to re-elect someone whose policies had contributed to the loss of 230,000 jobs in Ohio? The union members seemed disinclined to do so.

    Of all the swing states, only Michigan is worse off than Ohio. Michigan's employment is down 245,200 since January 2001 while Ohio's is off precisely 229,600.

    During the Republican National Convention next week, President Bush is expected to respond to what he says are improving economic circumstances with pockets (Ohio, Michigan) of resistance. At least part of this response will be the Bush "ownership agenda":

    In ads already on the air, the president says: "One of the most important parts of a reform agenda is to encourage people to own something: own their own home, own their own business, own they own health care plan or own a piece of their retirement."

    Ohioans know about ownership.

    "For 90 percent of the population, ownership is nice but a job is what matters," chief economist Bill Cheney at MFC Global Investment Management in Boston explained to Warren Vieth of the Los Angeles Times.

    Too often what Ohioans own these days is a pink slip.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Mitch McKenney at 7:46 AM

     Latest posts

       •  The straight poop
       •  Testimony no one will forget
       •  Now whom do you believe?
       •  If this is a political convention, where are those...
       •  Yep, we're swingers

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