When it comes to the nation’s economy, there isn’t much good news to be found. Economic growth in the US slowed to just 1.5 percent in the second quarter of this year, a number that greatly threatens the chances of an economic recovery anytime soon. Americans are being squeezed at the gas pump and in the grocery store checkout line. The national debt surpassed $16 trillion just a couple weeks ago. Unemployment remains above 8 percent. The Federal Reserve is printing more money (known as “Quantitative Easing 3”), further devaluing the dollar and likely leading to inflation. The list goes on.

Ohio also has been affected by many of these realities. However, the state has been able to buck the national trend of rising unemployment and out-of-control deficits by tackling its problems head-on. Not only did the state’s most recent budget eliminate an $8 billion deficit without raising taxes, but it actually killed the death tax, which had become an unmanageable burden on many families and farms throughout the state.

Seneca and Sandusky counties experienced considerable drops in their unemployment rates in recent months. Since January, the unemployment rate in Seneca County fell from 9.8 percent to 6.8 percent, a full 3-percent decrease according to the latest unemployment figures released last week. Sandusky County saw an even bigger drop, going from 9.5 percent to 6.3 percent.

Ohio’s unemployment rate stood at 9 percent at the beginning of last year and has outpaced the national average, which remains at about 8.2 percent. Job creators in Ohio have created more than 98,000 jobs in the past year, during which time our state ranked fourth nationwide in job creation and best in the Midwest.

Understanding the urgent need for job creation, the Ohio House passed in the first month of the General Assembly legislation that created JobsOhio, an economic development organization that works with businesses to encourage investment and expand the workforce. During the second quarter (April through June), JobsOhio secured a commitment from 77 Ohio companies to create a total of 4,666 jobs. That commitment equaled $205 million in new annual payroll.

While the federal government continues to fall deeper and deeper into debt, Ohio has been an example of a state that is turning its economy around by cutting taxes, dialing back regulations and making government less intrusive. Many hurdles still stand in the way of where we are and where we want to be. But the last two years, at least in Ohio, are a small blueprint of what needs to be done.


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