Oct. 27: “Study: Plan could create 2.3M jobs”

By Ceili Doyle of the Columbus Dispatch

The headline screams some really good news. 2.3M jobs! How could anyone be against that?

First, how many jobs is that. For years we’ve used Roman Numerals to represent numbers. Under Roman Numerals I = 1, V = 5, C = 100 and M = 1,000. So is it 2,300 or 2,300,000 jobs. There is quite a bit of difference between the two. So let’s look at the details of the story.

“…the plan would help create more than 235,000 jobs a year.”

With that clarification, it becomes clear they are claiming the plan would create 2.3 million (235,000 times 10 years) jobs in Ohio. That would be an amazing thing since Ohio only has a population of 11.7 million and a work force of less than 5.7 million. The September 2020 unemployment number was estimated at 471,500. So where are all those additional 1.8 million workers going to come from to fill the 2.3 million new jobs?

“These are short-term infrastructure jobs…”

So if they are “short-term” jobs, how long is short term? If they last a year or less then the jobs that are created the second year will only replace the jobs that were created and expired during the first year. That will be the same for year two, three and on to year ten. It sounds like the program is actually designed to create 235,000 jobs, not 2.3 million. (So who came up with the headline and why?)

So what type of jobs will these be?

“The jobs would be mostly outdoor work, similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps…” ‘”These are … infrastructure jobs…”‘

If the majority of the 235,000 jobs that are created are “outdoor work” “infrastructure jobs” do they really address those who are currently unemployed? Are they capable of the hard labor typical of infrastructure jobs? Are they able to spend most of their work days in the outdoors? If the currently unemployed aren’t able to meet the requirements of the jobs, the unemployment rate won’t actually be cut in half as the “expert” tells us it would. Many, if not most of the unemployed will stay unemployed.

The column goes on to talk about the impact of the changes to the fossil fuels industry employment. It states that an estimated

“…2,115 Ohioans working in the fossil-fuel industry will lose their jobs annually (roughly 21,000 total) between 2021 and 2030. However, 1,105 of those workers would retire each year on average, leaving only 1,010 displaced workers.” (10,100 total over ten years)

So does that mean we are spending 90 billion dollars over ten years to create 235,000 jobs because of the 10,100 displaced workers? It sounds like that’s the case. If that’s the case. that equates to $9.8 million over ten years for each displaced worker.

The subheading of the article is “Nonprofit program aims to help Appalachia”. That is certainly a great goal. And bringing towns back to life is a great service. BUT reporting on the proposal needs to make sense and not much of the reporting in this article makes good sense.

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