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Jobs data not best measure

Ohio’s politicians were practically doing the 21st Century version of Paul Revere’s ride late last week, roaring through cyberspace shouting, “The jobs are coming. The jobs are coming.”

Rational people who are not as prone to hyperbole and aren’t pandering for votes probably wouldn’t get quite so excited.

The cause of all the political chest pounding was a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that Ohio had the highest growth in the country in May with more than 32,000 jobs created. The data also shows the state’s unemployment rate, which stayed at 7 percent, remains below the national average of 7.6. Although this is certainly good news, and when considered with other economic indicators, appears to show Ohio may be on the right path, let’s not plan a celebration too quickly.

The big questions are: Will the state sustain this? Are these quality jobs with wages on which people can actually make a living?

Month-to-month data often swings wildly. Most of the jobs were in the fields of professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, government, education and health services. Some of these could also be seasonal.

Bureaucrats and politicians like to use statistics and complicated reports to validate their efforts. The real measure of Ohio’s economic health can be found by driving through its towns, talking to its citizens and visiting its businesses.

By those measures Ohio still a long way to go, but the state appears to be headed in the right direction.