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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal





    Saturday, September 18, 2004

    Blogging on Ohio's bogged down economy 

    This is so typical of Ohio: The state lost more jobs than any other in the country during August (at least we're No. 1 in something). During a month in which jobs were expected to increase, they instead fell by nearly 12,000.

    ``We're just not having much movement in the job market,'' Keith Ewald, chief of the Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information, told The Columbus Dispatch.

    There are many reasons that Ohio's unemployment rose from 6 percent to 6.3 percent, from Gov. Bob Taft's failed economic leadership to - and here's the irony - the fact that Ohioans have gotten too good at what they do.

    Among the industries slow to add jobs, the slowest is Ohio's important automotive manufacturing base. Why? It isn't just sales that keep the automakers and their many Ohio suppliers from hiring. It's productivity. Companies and their workers have become so productive they DON'T NEED MORE WORKERS.

    More productive workers and longer-lasting products helped to kill tiremaking in Akron. Now, the conundrum infects all of Ohio.

    There are 237,400 fewer jobs in Ohio than when President Bush took office, 173,000 of them stripped from manufacturing. The president claims to have answers yet none work. His challenger, John Kerry, talks about going after ``good-paying jobs (with incentives to companies to keep them in the United States)and helping the middle class first.'' But the details of how this might be accomplished remain scarce.

    What is not scarce is the truth found in plants such as Reichert Stamping Co., in Sylvania Township near Toledo. Reichert told its workers Friday that the 80-year-old company that makes automotive parts will close by early November. That will add 50 hourly and 15 salaried workers to Ohio's unemployed.

    The most most recent Ohio Poll, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati, found that the economy was of greater concern to Ohio voters than any other.

    ``It is the weakest state economy in the country,'' Mark Zandi, chief economist for Economy.com told The Dispatch, ``and I don't think this will get much better before the election and into next year.''

    And so back to where we began: So typical Ohio.

    - Steve Love


    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:41 PM



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