Wages Slip In Ohio, Welfare Surplus Grows

WCPO.com- Cincinnati - September 4, 2005

WCPO.com- Cincinnati

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland think tank says the average Ohio worker has seen declining wages for four years.

In a report released today, Policy Matters Ohio says productivity, education and weekly working hours have increased during that time.

The report’s author say gains in worker productivity normally are mirrored by gains in compensation.

Amy Hanauer says profits are being routed to executives and to corporate growth rather than to workers.

She also faults sluggish growth in the service sector for failing to absorb hits taken in manufacturing firms.

In many states, job losses in manufacturing were tempered by gains in other economic areas.

Hanauer says in the report that last year’s median hourly wage was $13.37, lower than its been since 1998.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s welfare fund surplus is the history of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program.

The state has stockpiled $1.4 billion, more than half of which is unobligated, meaning the state has no plan for how to use it.

That portion of the surplus has grown in the past year from $431 million to $599 million.

At the same, the state’s poverty rate rose from 10.3 % to 11.3 %.

The director of the Department of Jobs and Family Services in Athens
County says the resources are being squandered when they are desperately needed.

Jack French says that sends the message to lawmakers that any increases in funding for needy families would drain state resources.

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