Reinvent to create more jobs

Ohio faces its share of economic struggles. Its unemployment rate in November was 4.6 percent, while the U.S. as a whole saw unemployment at just 3.7 percent. Some regions of the state see unemployment considerably higher.

Meanwhile, in one of those unusual polls conducted once in a while by corporations, Ohio ranked sixth on a list of “Most Moved-From States in 2018.” The survey was conducted by United Van Lines, and is a tracking only of its customers’ state-to-state migration patterns. But it yielded some interesting information.

Of those customers leaving Ohio, 16.9 percent said they were leaving to move to a new location in retirement; 13.78 percent cited “family” reasons; 8.77 percent cited “lifestyle” changes; and a massive 60.75 percent said they were moving for jobs.

As Michael Stoll, chairman of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California in Los Angeles put it, “That says a lot about Ohio’s ability to provide employment.”

Those 18-34 years old make up the largest group leaving the Buckeye State. And, again, these are people who could afford the use of a moving truck to leave the state — the number of folks packing up a friend’s truck to make three or four trips before completing their exodus would likely present an even larger problem.

But Stoll points to an unlikely Rust Belt city — Pittsburgh — as an example of what can be done to stem the population loss.

“Reinvention is what you have to do,” he said. “There are cities that saw huge population declines that moderated them.”

Stoll suggests Ohio might benefit from strategic investment in some new industries — Buckeye State residents know they cannot depend on the industries that built generations.

It is a small survey, not particularly scientific, but it points to a real need. Lawmakers must continue to look for ways to diversify and strengthen the options for Ohioans.