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Friday, January 26, 2007

OH-02's Rep. Jean Schmidt: More Egg On Her Face?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt's official House Web site has deleted her weekly column, a report that praised economic progress in the U.S. Good move. The head of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank is offering sobering news about Ohio -- today there are fewer jobs in the state than six years ago during the last recession.

Schmidt's withdrawn column extolled Republican policies and said unemployment had fallen to 4.5% across the nation. She released it on the same day Ohio's jobless rate increased.

Schmidt was wise to jerk her ill-timed economic musings off the Web. The data about Ohio from the Federal Reserve Bank is not upbeat. Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto says Ohio -- the state Schmidt represents in Congress -- still isn't back to where it was before the last economic downturn.

''Throughout the current economic recovery, job creation in Ohio has been among the worst of the 50 states. And as difficult as Ohio's situation is, Dayton has faced even greater challenges. In fact, both Ohio and the Dayton area have fewer jobs today than they did six years ago during the last recession. Many people think that manufacturing trends can account for this state of affairs, but that is not the whole story," Pianalto said.

Her entire speech is an excellent review of what's happening nationally and regionally. But this is the line that bears repeating: "Ohio and the Dayton area have fewer jobs today than they did six years ago during the last recession."

The Cleveland fed chief said she can see only one cure. "In a global economy that puts an increasing premium on highly skilled workers, the most successful regions will be those that improve their knowledge stocks. Our region can have an economic future that is as enriching as our past, but only if we increase our investment in innovation and education -- the two key factors in promoting economic success."

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