Economy improvement unclear

First Posted: 1/2/2015

LIMA — Gov. John Kasich and hundreds of others shared a post on Wednesday touting Lima as one of the “nation’s top ten most improved economies of the past year.”

The source is listed as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though representatives of the agency said they don’t release a list of that nature or statistics like that.

After looking into the post more, The Lima News found out that while there is good news for Lima’s economy, it’s not quite what Kasich posted.

Lima is in the top 10 when it comes to fastest-declining unemployment rates, as the rate of unemployed decreased 2.8 percent in Lima from November 2013 to November 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That, however, does not mean it’s one of the fastest-growing economies.

Economic growth is usually measured by more than just unemployment. Robert Nichols, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said in an email that the governor measures economic growth with several metrics, including, but not limited to job creation, unemployment, income, exports, etc.

Nichols said the Facebook post was just something the governor shared from a reporter. Vox is an online news site.

“It is how one particular reporter measured it … we simply facebooked about it,” he said in an email.

Lima Mayor David Berger also shared Kasich’s post and related it back to another statistic released from the Bureau of Economic Analysis in September.

In that release, the bureau ranked real Gross Domestic Product by Metropolitan Area and Lima’s had grown the ninth fastest from 2012 to 2013.

“It does appear that our economic growth may be accelerating,” Berger said. “There’s a momentum that has been slowly developing and it is now apparent.”

Lima’s economy is clearly improving, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis information, though there is no confirmation that it is one of the “most improved” economies.

Nichols sent The Lima News a link to the Vox article the governor’s office got the information from, which is titled: “These are the 10 cities where the job market improved the most in the last year.”

Lima is one of these cities and the article shows statistics and charts attributed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but they are referring to “the fastest-shrinking unemployment rates,” not the overall economy.

The Lima News reviewed statistics on unemployment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and confirmed that Vox’s number on “fastest-shrinking unemployment rates” are correct.

Though Kasich’s office said he got the “most improved” information from this Vox article, the article never refers to Lima or any other metropolitan areas as having the “most improved” economy.