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COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE) – It’s been a long, tough recessionary slog for Ohio, a manufacturing state striving to regain its manufacturing mojo, after it lost approximately 600,000 jobs during the first decade of the 21st century.
Now an accepted label among pundits for purposes of painting a state’s partisan politics, red signaled Republicans ruled why blue denoted command by Democrats.
But now, with the nation in recovery, as maps reflecting national economic activity on this page show, nearly all states, including Ohio, have changed their economic colors. States under the gun of economic recession wore a red hue. Now in recovery, most states sprout green. (see slideshow maps)
U.S. economic growth finished on a strong note in 2011, according to projections for a key indicator due out Friday morning. Economists warn, though, “that uncertainty both here and abroad still clouds the prospects for a sustained recovery,” according to the Washington Post. Analysts expect that gross domestic product will have risen at an annual rate of 3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
During the worst of the recession, in 2008-09, all states were red. In early 2011, all states except Wisconsin and Minnesota turned green, according to state business activity indexes collected by Calculated Risk, a finance and economic website.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also joined the party Thursday when it released coincident indexes – constructed from state employment data to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic – for the 50 states for December 2011. In the past month, the indexes increased in 39 states, decreased in seven, and remained unchanged in four (Arizona, Nebraska, New York, and Wyoming). Four state-level indicators – nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average) – track trends for each state.
Manufacturing information released yesterday showed a dramatic rise in a composite index which represents an average of production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery time, and raw materials inventory indexes. A three-month moving average, based on the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, rose to +0.17 in December from -0.46 in November, a move that supports the president’s comments that, even though the recovery is no longer in dispute, the pace needs to be accelerated. Additional support for the realization that manufacturing is returning comes from the Kansas City Fed’s month-over-month manufacturing composite index figures, supplied by Calculated Risk, which showed a rise from -2 in December to 7 in January.
Someone else who has taken the measure of how far the nation has come from careening off an economic cliff that seemed impossible to avoid when it peaked in 2008-09 is President Barack Obama. In his Tuesday night State of the Union Address, he unabashedly declared that American manufacturers are hiring again and creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. “In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than three million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005…American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s,” he told the nation and a joint session of Congress that convened in special session in Washington for its yearly oral report on how the nation fares.
In his year-end confab with reporters, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Ohio is about 45,000 jobs to the good, even though he acknowledged at the AP’s yearly forum Thursday that some of the big drop in the state’s unemployment rate was due to large numbers of Ohio workers dropping out of the active workforce pool.
What Gov. Kasich will likely describe as nothing more than “tripping over ant hills on the way to the pyramids,” a favorite Kasichism, is information from Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. showing Ohio isn’t as competitive as some states.
When compared to states that have been the most competitive in terms of job creation since the recession, EMSI, which contracts with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to identify projected occupational shortages, shows Ohio is moored in the top half of the bottom half of states.
In EMSI’s Blog, which provides data, links, articles, and other information related to labor market trends, regional economics and workforce and economic development, Ohio ranked a disappointing 38th, because it fell short of producing the number of jobs expected.
For states that rank toward the bottom, like Ohio, the housing bust and subsequent construction downturn is the biggest culprit. For states like Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, the report said, “the poor performance in manufacturing and government weighed heavily in our ranking.”
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