Looking at not seasonally adjusted data during the past 12 and 24 months, it’s more than obvious that Metro Columbus has done well during John Kasich’s gubernatorial term, while the vast majority of the rest of the state has not:
First, let’s look at the data set which is less damning, namely that from the federal government’s Establishment Survey of employers (first and third sections in the table above).
Metro Columbus, which has about 17 percent of all statewide employment (and rising), has seen percentage job growth of roughly double of that seen in the rest of the state (5.20 percent during past 24 months in Columbus vs. 2.88 percent elsewhere), and a bit more than double the rate seen in the 12 other Buckeye State metro areas the government tracks. Even Columbus has seen a bit of a slowdown during the past 12 months compared to the previous 12.
But it’s the more inclusive Household Survey’s results (second and fourth sections in the table) which show how Columbus is holding its own, though less impressively, while the rest of the state suffers. The Household Survey picks up self-employment and contract employment the Establishment Survey of payrolls does not. The Household Survey also tells us what is happening to the total labor force, which includes those working and those who are looking for work (but not workforce dropouts or discouraged workers).
Columbus’s labor force has grown in each of the past two years. The rest of Ohio’s labor force shrank seriously during the 12 months ended in July 2012, and has barely grown during the past 12 months. With the exception of Canton-Massillon (detail not presented here), every other major metro area in the state has seen its workforce contract during the past two years. All of Ohio except Columbus has seen a shrinkage of over 66,000.
Household Survey employment growth in Columbus during the past two years has been almost 3 percent. In the rest of the state, it has been 0.47 percent, only one-sixth of that. Only Akron and Toledo at +1.71 percent and +1.69 percent, respectively (not detailed here) have seen meaningful Household Survey employment growth in the past two years.
In the past 12 months, over 97 percent of Ohio’s Household Survey job additions have occurred in Columbus. Other metro areas have picked up an unimpressive 10,000 jobs. That gain has been almost entirely offset by jobs lost in non-metro areas, leaving the rest of the state with almost invisible employment growth of +0.01 percent.
All of this is summarized in the two ugly charts (if you don’t live or work in Metro Columbus) below:
This is not an acceptable situation, but apparently the folks running state government in Columbus don’t mind it. Otherwise, they’d be doing something about it. From all appearances, they’re not.
I guess as long as things are okay within and around the I-270 Beltway, what’s happening in the rest of the state doesn’t matter.
What else are we to conclude?