September 2006 News from Policy Matters Ohio: The Recovery that Wasn’t

- September 20, 2006

The Recovery that Wasn’t – We are now nearly five years into a national economic recovery and some commentators have begun to talk about a potential downturn. For workers in Ohio, this is the recovery that wasn’t. The state has fewer jobs and lower real median wages than it had in 2000, before the most recent recession. Yet in many ways the American and Ohio economies are at heights of productivity and profitability. We have the resources to create a more prosperous and fair Ohio, but most benefits aren’t broadly shared. Read the State of Working Ohio to learn how changes in policy could help workers and their families better gain from the economy to which they contribute so much.

Can we grow our economy by limiting public spending? – The Ohio legislature passed a state spending limitation in May 2006 on the theory that we could. Economic Growth and the Public Sector: Evidence from the States, by Columbus researcher Jon Honeck, sheds serious doubt on the idea. The report finds no evidence that states with relatively large public sectors had slower private sector growth. In fact, higher rates of public sector growth were associated with more rapid economic growth. Policy debates should not imply a tradeoff between private sector economic performance and public goods like education, transportation, health care, and law enforcement. We can, and should, demand a society that provides both.

Minimum Wage – The minimum wage initiative has qualified for the November ballot. The short story: a yes vote would help more than 700,000 Ohio workers better support themselves and their families, and states with higher minimum wages have more job growth. Good for workers, good for the economy. To hear this all first hand, you can bring your brown bag lunch to Guilford House at Case Western Reserve University at noon on October 6, where Amy Hanauer will address the public affairs lunch crowd. 

New Energy for Cities – Cities and counties from across the nation are pioneering new clean energy solutions that could help end our nation’s oil addiction and create good jobs, according to the most recent report from the Apollo Alliance. Four Ohio municipalities — Bowling Green, Canton, Cincinnati, and Cleveland — are highlighted in this national report. As the Ohio Apollo partner, we’re helping Ohio communities learn about the dozens of municipal programs featured here. Ohio Apollo will help Ohio create jobs by promoting renewable power, reducing oil consumption, making buildings more efficient and promoting smart growth. We’re grateful to the Gund Foundation for giving us the resources to spread the word.

Ohio Job Numbers Weaken – Job growth in Ohio has disappeared in recent months. We lost jobs over the last three months, while the country’s jobs grew at a weak pace. Ohio manufacturing jobs in July were at the lowest point in decades, though the rate of loss over the past year was much lower than during the recession. Read JobWatch here.

Investing in Workers – Community Research Partners and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation are hosting  Investing in Workers: Strategies to Grow Ohio’s Economy, a conference at the Columbus Hyatt Regency on October 9-10. We’re proud to partner in this event, where our Executive Director, Amy Hanauer, will moderate a panel on High Road Economic Development, and where gubernatorial candidates Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell will speak at the October 10th plenary. 

That’s all!
The Policy Matters Ohio Team 

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