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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's Budget Office Tallies Different Jobs Numbers Than Boss: Wackadoodle Accounting or Flaky Guv?

Jobs Numbers and Exploding Cigars 
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The governor's State of the State speech in Steubenville last week was a doozy.  Among memorable lines he called his wife, Ohio's First Lady "hot," and described California as a place run by wackadoodles. Some have theorized Gov. John Kasich was tipsy. Others suggest he was just rambling and off-the-cuff. Now it looks like some of the numbers Kasich tossed around about jobs creation during his first year in office were just pulled out of thin air. Perhaps the data set was wackadoodled by Gov. Katzenjammer as an amusing antic. Or maybe Kasich mangled the jobs numbers because he's ignorant of the facts.  Then again, the Republican governor could have tamped the number down a bit because he didn't want President Obama's economic policies receiving too much credit.

In the speech, Kasich said Ohio created 43,500 private sector jobs during the past year, the first of his four-year term.  He didn't use plain, precise English.  But it's clear he was talking about his record and claimed credit for the gain:  "Our private sector jobs growth . . . we created 43,500 new jobs.  A net increase of 43,500 families better off."  But the real number is much better.  He muffed it.
OBM Financial Report Uses Different Jobs Numbers Than Kaisich

Kasich's private sector jobs number is challenged in the report issued by his own staff.  If the staff is correct, Kasich got the number wrong. Way wrong.  In the state's monthly financial report issued Feb. 10, the Office of Budget and Management reported much stronger job creation in the private sector last year. (An excerpt from the document is above.)  OBM said:  "Private sector employment increase by 79,100 jobs in 2011." 

That means Kasich was off by 35,600 private sector jobs.  Kasich is supposed to have a sharp mind for numbers -- he chaired the House Budget Committee in the 1990s and claims a major role for balancing the U.S. Budget during the Bill Clinton era.  And when he quit the House, Kasich became a managing director at Lehman Bros., the giant investment bank.  Of course, Lehman collapsed in bankruptcy because it really didn't have accurate numbers to stay afloat and investors were misled.  But there are other jobs numbers that Kasich katzenjammered in his speech (which you can read below).  He said, "Ohio is the number one job creator in the Midwest today, as we sit here. Number One."

Ohio's current monthly financial report -- which is supposed to be based on the most current data available  -- offers a less flattering picture:
"Among the contiguous states, year-over-year employment growth was strongest in Kentucky and Michigan (+1.7%), followed by Ohio (+1.4%), West Virginia (+1.3%), Pennsylvania (+1.0%), and Indiana (+0.6%).  For the Ohio and contiguous state region, employment increased by 1.3% during 2011, the same as for all states outside the region combined."
The point here is not to call Kasich a prevaricator.  The point is to make sure that Ohioans get consistent information about the state's economic progress.  Kasich's State of the State is an annual report to the people and lawmakers.  He should know what he's talking about when he speaks.   It's neither the time nor place for wackadoodle moments.  In his owns words from Steubenville, here's Gov. Kasich:

Where are we today? I could give you 50 other things, but we'd go on forever here. Where are we today? Ohio is the number one job creator in the Midwest today, as we sit here. Number one.
We're the number nine job creator in America. From 48 to nine in one year. Legislature, people…
…it's about time, because we're a powerhouse here in Ohio. And you know what? Our private sector job growth, rather than losing the 400,000 jobs over the last four years, we created 43,500 new jobs. A net increase of 43,500 families better off.
Total manufacturing jobs—it’s not just autos, believe me, and I'm going to tell you in a moment—14,400 manufacturing jobs. God made some people to make things. It's coming back to America, and it's coming back to Ohio.

That manufacturing number.  Wrong again, according to the financial report.  Ohio added 18,300 manufacturing jobs in 2011.


  1. Gov. Kasich has no clue what the jobs numbers show. He had access to our OBM report and riffed off the top off his head. He is riffing all over the state. If he makes a mistake in a meeting with bond and bond rating people, he could cause problems. Sigh.

  2. Similar to how Obama describes the unemployment numbers.

  3. Bill, have you tried to verify the guv's claims 1,000 13-year-old girls are held as sex slaves in Ohio. We have not been able to discover proof and we have been looking. FBI, Justice Dept., Ohio AG, scientific researches, Census data. We have nothing to back him up.