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Ohio's economic condition is improving. That's good news for Gov. John Kasich, but it comes with an asterisk.
An improving economy is also considered good news for President Barack Obama. Kasich, a Republican, backs challenger Mitt Romney.
The point came up, as it has before, during a recent Fox News interview.
"The Democrats are saying one of the big factors helping the president is the auto bailout, particularly in the northern part of the state," host Paul Gigot said, wondering if Kasich's boosting of jobs was helping Obama's campaign.
Kasich, as he has before, downplayed the role of the auto recovery.
"We're up 123,000 jobs over the last year and three-quarters," he said. "We're actually, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, down 500 jobs, auto jobs in Ohio."
A loss of jobs? PolitiFact Ohio was interested.
We looked at figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we asked Kasich's office for his sourcing.
First, we noted that Kasich, in talking about "the last year and three-quarters," was referring to the period from January 2011, when he took office, until August 2012, the last month for which figures were available.
BLS figures for Ohio show that total nonfarm employment went in that period from 5,064,600 to 5,187,600 -- an increase of 123,000 jobs, as Kasich stated.
In talking about auto jobs in that period, Kasich's staff said he was referring to jobs in the BLS categories of motor vehicle manufacturing and motor vehicle parts manufacturing.
The first category saw an increase of 700 jobs from January 2011 to August 2012, from 19,200 to 19,900.
In the second and larger category, employment went from 56,000 to 54,800, a loss of 1,200 jobs.
That's a net decrease of 500 jobs.
So Kasich’s numbers are correct. But additional information is needed to clarify his claim.
The timeframe Kasich used is an issue in itself, as we have noted before. In talking about Ohio jobs, the governor only used figures that covered his time in office, starting in January 2011. But the first federal aid to the automakers was made in 2008 while Republican President George W. Bush was still in office. It continued in early 2009 under Obama.
The auto industry hit bottom in June 2009, when vehicle manufacturing jobs in Ohio dropped to 14,200, down from 23,800 jobs one year earlier. By the time Kasich took office, after the auto bailouts, that number had increased by 5,000 jobs. That isn't reflected in the governor's tally.
Parts manufacturing, down 1,200 jobs since Kasich took office, is up 3,900 jobs from the trough of June 2009.
It is also worth noting that the figures the governor cited reflect only direct jobs in the auto industry. Some industry analysts, such as the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, also look at two other categories of employment in the industry -- intermediate and spin-off -- in considering the impact auto manufacturing has on the economy. Under that gauge, job growth in other businesses that have a connection to the auto industry also would be considered.
On the Truth-O-Meter, a statement that is accurate but needs clarification or additional information rates Mostly True.
CQ Newsmaker Transcripts (subscription required), "Gov. Kasich interviewed on Fox News," Sept. 29, 2012
Telephone interview with Rob Nichols, spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Oct. 2, 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio employment, accessed Oct. 2, 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio motor vehicle manufacturing employment,
accessed Oct. 2, 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio motor vehicle parts manufacturing employment, accessed Oct. 2, 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Automotive Industry: Employment, Earnings, and Hours, accessed Oct. 2, 2012
PolitiFact Ohio, "John Kasich downplays impact of auto bailouts on Ohio's economy," June 13, 2012
PolitiFact, "Ohio Democratic Party touts 850,000 Buckeye State jobs tied to the auto industry," March 14, 2012
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