Jobs Returning to Ohio, Very Slowly

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Another installment in our continuing look at the impact unemployment will play in key 2012 election states. Today’s Columbus Dispatch writes in some detail about Ohio’s economic trajectory. Here’s the good news for Barack Obama:

Ohio’s unemployment rate declined for the last nine months of 2010 to 9.6 percent in December, from a high of 11 percent in March. Only six states saw a better improvement in their jobless rate last year.

The Buckeye State also improved its rankings from 2006 in the number of new manufacturing jobs, the increase in its gross state product and other indicators, the newspaper’s review shows.

But it’s probably outweighed by the bad:

Moody’s is forecasting that Ohio will see a 3.7 percent increase in gross state product this year, up from 3.2 percent last year but less than the national forecast of 3.9 percent in 2011. The firm also is projecting that Ohio will add 51,000 jobs this year and 100,000 in 2012.

Still, that would be only a dent in the nearly 419,000 jobs that Ohio has lost since the official start of the recession in December 2007, and economists say other troubling signs remain.

In the housing market, for example, Ohio’s foreclosure rate was 38th worst in the nation last year. That means only 12 other states had a higher rate, after Ohio’s foreclosure filings rose 6.4percent last year, according to RealtyTrac, a California firm that follows the housing market.

Housing prices also are expected to continue falling this year before they start rebounding again, Sears said.

“Housing is still a disaster, and it’s going to take longer for things to work out there,” Brock said.

Meanwhile, the state’s new Republican governor, John Kasich, needs to close a large budget gap without raising taxes (per his campaign promise). That means big spending cuts, which will surely mean thousands more job losses at the state level and a contractionary effect on the state’s economy. Ouch.