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Economic rebound leaves Ohio behind

Ohio residents are not imagining things when it seems as though our economic woes are leaving us behind the economic rebound we are told is happening across the country. A report by the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies shows Ohio’s poverty rate is 12.7%. That is 0.8% higher than the national rate. And the trend has been consistent over the past five years.

“Our approach this year was to examine [employment, child care, student loan debt and housing] and how they all relate to one another,” Tina Kassebaum, project director with Strategy Research Group, told WYSO near Dayton. “Because poverty is almost never the result of a singular issue. While many of these issues were a challenge to Ohioans, that Ohioans were facing before the pandemic, they have become much more difficult and complicated in the past few years.”

There is some hope that Ohio might see some improvements as a result of a new Intel semiconductor facility. But that is right in the heart of the state. Appalachian Ohio might see some benefit, but it will make only a dent.

“We need to make sure that those opportunities are spread throughout Ohio and to all income groups. If that happens, we can see real improvement for our citizens as well as our economy,” Philip Cole, executive director of OACAA, told WYSO.

Well, that, and ensuring our education system is giving our kids the high quality start they need to be ready for any jobs that might come. Politicians and policy makers have their work cut out for them if all efforts are to drive toward the same goal. But if they remember they work for us, rather than themselves, they’ll choose to get it done.

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