Creating Jobs For Ohioans

It is ironic that Democrat candidates for governor in Ohio are saying they want to focus on job creation. That and complaints about incumbent Gov. John Kasich dominated a debate among four Democrat gubernatorial candidates Tuesday in Martins Ferry.

Our region of the state once was an industrial powerhouse. But in large measure because of Democrat policies on trade, coal and energy prices, thousands of jobs in the steel, coal and aluminum industries have disappeared during the past couple of decades.

In terms of job creation, one wonders why the Democrats wanted to talk about Republican Kasich, who is term-limited and unable to seek re-election.

Kasich took over from Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland in January 2011. Strickland spent his time in office assuring Buckeye State residents that there were no fiscal problems in state government.

When he turned the reins over to Kasich, he left behind a $2 billion hole in the state budget. Kasich and Republican legislators had just a few months to close it — but they did.

Statewide, the unemployment rate in January 2011 was 9.2 percent. In part because of Kasich and Republican lawmakers, job creation has been encouraged during the past seven and one-half years, to the point the unemployment rate at last report was 5.2 percent.

Statistics can be misleading, of course. But the hard numbers also point to job creation success under the Republican administration. When Kasich took office, 5,252,059 Ohioans had jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, the number is 5,468,132.

That is a net gain of 216,073 jobs under the Republican governor.

East Ohio continues to suffer from unemployment rates substantially higher than the state average. Clearly, more needs to be done here.

Again, however, recall that it was the very manufacturing and energy industries that once made our region an economic powerhouse that suffered most under Democrat policies.

Indeed, Buckeye State voters should think about job creation when they go to the polls next fall to elect a new governor.

But Democrat candidates advocating that should be careful what they wish for.