Just Dropped In To See What Condition Our Condition Is In

Ongoing news of local concern has been the Ohio legislature’s current bills, HB 56 and HB 394. 56 is intended to promote education, skill and experience front and center on State job applications/interviews, with an applicant’s court record deferred until post application/interview, as part of background checks. 394 intends to drastically redo Ohio’s unemployment compensation protocol, rules and procedure, limiting duration and restricting eligibility. Both these proposals are in response to Ohio’s “improved” economy. They approach the improvement from radically different perspectives. 56 challenges John Kasich’s 2015 State of the Union boast (“And you know what’s really great? No one’s being left out. No one.”) while 394 verifies the presidential candidate as a man of action who keeps his word (by offering over $300 mil in tax cuts to businesses). Both are predicated on the perceived belief that the economy is better, and therefore… But is it? Both Donnie Trump and Bernie Sanders feel that economic indicators (relied on by many, including the FED for raising interest rates, etc.) do not reflect the condition on the ground. Like 56 and 394, the two presidential wannabe’s have different reasons and proposals regarding this condition. Writing for Washington Post’s online blog The Fix, Janell Ross headlines “A new study gets at what critics of the official unemployment rate have been saying” (12-9-15). Confirming 56 and 394’s believers, she reports that “On Friday, the government announced that unemployment had remained at 5 percent, meaning 7.9 million Americans were looking for work in November but were unable to find it.” Next paragraphs she writes: “There are about 17 million “job-seekers” in the United States, according to a report released this week by the Alliance for a Just Society, a nonprofit organization that has been tracking what workers need to earn to support themselves and how many of these jobs have been available for the last 15 years. To be clear, that figure includes the nearly 8 million Americans who meet the government’s official criteria for being “unemployed” and another almost 9 million people who are “underemployed (involuntary part-time workers), workers marginally attached to the labor force, and discouraged workers who would want a job if one was available”” Recently it was noted that nationwide, the average monthly rent for an apartment has risen to approx. $800 a month, with home ownership still not at the percentage level it occupied pre “Great Recession” (Analysis has repeatedly quoted Newark’s high non owner occupant residence rate, near 47%). Ross included a table showing various statistics. In Ohio the single adult living wage (needed to stay off government assistance for things like food, shelter, health care, etc.) is a full time job of $14.50 an hour. The total number of job seekers (the unemployed and those “who are “underemployed (involuntary part-time workers), workers marginally attached to the labor force, and discouraged workers who would want a job if one was available.”) is given as 507,000. Total job openings available in Ohio is given at 172,620, with only 52.7% of those paying at or above the single adult living wage. According to the Alliance for a Just Society, this is a 6 to 1 job gap ratio (those needing a living wage job to such available living wage job openings). This radically redefines the conditions under which HB 56 and HB 394 may realistically be considered. Analysis finds that HB 56 seeks to rectify/alleviate this condition while HB 394 would only aggravate it.


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