Ohio's Employment Picture: Bleak and Bleaker

| Mon Sep. 12, 2011 8:22 PM EDT

I know, Labor Day was last week, but in case you missed it, there's a dismal new report out from the think tank Policy Matters Ohio about the state of my home state. According to it, wages have declined in 10 states in the last 10 years. Leading the pack? Ohio, which I've been blathering about since I spent a month there reporting on its abysmal employment prospects and its abysmal actual jobs. Its median wage decline—of 86 cents an hour—over the past decade has been steeper than that of Michigan, which is more famous for its decrepitude, and also the only place I ever came across a dead body on a sidewalk.

More fun facts about the Buckeye State: For the first time in 20 years, not even half of 16- to 24-year-olds are employed. Only about half of African-Americans are employed. Just a little more than half of women are.

But not all of the 26 pages in the report are bad news. Just 23 of them are. The last few include the ways the Ohio legislature could turn the trend around and save the day. Like by not cutting local government budgets by 50 percent and by not slashing school funding. Aw, wait. That's the exact opposite of what the legislature is starting to do right now.

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