Ohio governor touts post-recession job recovery

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has fully recovered the jobs lost during the national recession as of January's unemployment report, Gov. John Kasich said Friday.

The Republican governor called a news conference to highlight figures showing Ohio has regained both the 350,000 private-sector jobs lost during the recession-era governorship of his predecessor and more than the 406,000 private-sector jobs lost during the entire recession.

Kasich, a potential 2016 presidential contender, said hitting the benchmark isn't "mission accomplished" but should send a message about Ohio's economic and tax policies to other states. The governor's numbers reflect only private-sector jobs, which he said are the life's blood of an economic recovery.

"It is pretty remarkable what's happened here — not just the economic growth, but the way in which we've done it," he said, touting tax cuts and the creation of a privatized, economic-development office.

Kasich said he was marking the moment in part because he routinely has been questioned by reporters about when his administration would regain the job losses that he used during his gubernatorial campaigns to hammer former Gov. Ted Strickland and other Democrats.

Ohio's average wages remain below pre-recession levels, which Kasich said is a focus of many of his administration's educational and workplace initiatives, as well as policies laid out in his $72.3 billion, two-year budget proposal.

Ohio's jobless rate announced Friday of 5.1 percent was below the nation's rate of 5.7 percent for January and notably below last January's 6.5 percent.

The state gained 72,700 jobs in 2014, according the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That's up from the originally reported total of 45,800 jobs. The figures are revised annually using more detailed employment data.

Job and Family Services Assistant Director Bruce Madson said Friday's adjusted figures show that Ohio is gaining jobs "more rapidly and more consistently" than previously reported. He said Ohio's annual average unemployment rate for last year was 5.7 percent, a significant drop from 7.5 percent in 2013, but slightly higher than previously reported.

The newly released job numbers showed that Ohio had 293,000 unemployed workers in January.

The state also saw 25,100 jobs added over the month, primarily in sectors of educational and health services and trade, transportation and utilities.