Trying to get an idea of where the economy is headed? Two economics experts on Ohio Farm Bureau’s radio show Town Hall Ohio recently shared what financial indicators they look at and talked about the state of the economy in Ohio and across the country.
“We are in better shape than a few years ago” but the U.S. unemployment rate is still 9 percent and even higher if the number of underemployed Americans is taken into account, said Matt Roberts, an agricultural economist at Ohio State University.
Both Roberts and Bill LaFayette, owner of Regionomic LLC, said they rely on other economic indicators to give them a better idea of the state of the economy in the United States and worldwide. One is the Consumer Sentiment Index, which is released monthly and measures consumer confidence.
“If consumers aren’t happy, nobody is happy. That indicator has really grown over the last 10 to 12 months,” Roberts said.
In Ohio, the state has grown by 50,000 net jobs since the beginning of 2010, a 3 percent growth comparable to the national average, LaFayette said. The state’s lower unemployment rate is partly due to slow population growth, he said.Both experts had recommendations on how to help turn the economy around in the United States.
“The single most important things that (lawmakers) in America and Ohio should do is invest in work force training and development in a very strategic way. Make college more affordable but realize that not everybody needs or should go to college. Forty percent of the jobs created in Ohio don’t require college training but (do need) training beyond high school,” LaFayette said.