When I first joined the Ohio Senate nearly four years ago, our unemployment rate was almost in the double digits, Ohio had lost 350,000 jobs in four years, and business closures were becoming all too common. Today, jobs are returning, our family and friends are going back to work, and our unemployment rate is steadily declining.
In fact, our region is leading the state in job creation. Over 2,000 new jobs have been announced in our community since January of this year alone, and our region is filled with skilled workers, innovative ideas and creativity. Since 2011, Ohio businesses statewide have created over 262,000 jobs, and our unemployment rate plummeted from over 9% to 5.3%. We can expect this to be just the beginning of our comeback.
Creating job-friendly policies so that businesses can stay and grow with a talented workforce was our first step on the road to bringing Ohio back to economic prosperity. We did this by making sure our state budget was balanced and fixing an $8 billion budget shortfall without increasing taxes. Small businesses employ about half of the workers in Ohio, so we cut the small business tax by 75 percent. I also introduced legislation creating a $25 million fund to help train skilled workers for in-demand jobs.
And we’re seeing the results. Just last week I attended a groundbreaking for Whirlpool in Greenville that will create 400 new jobs. A week before that, I attended PSA Airline’s announcement of expansion at the Dayton Airport. I also recently toured Abbott Labs and Meijer in Tipp City where they have created 340 new jobs between them. Earlier this year, I joined auto-glass supplier Fuyao as it decided to resurrect GM’s Moraine Assembly Plant for its 800 new employees. The building, which stood empty and overgrown, was a haunting reminder of the hundreds of families who lost their livelihood when GM closed its doors. Soon it will come back to life and provide hope and real opportunities for many families.
This is great news, but I know we still have too many people out of work or underemployed. If you, or someone you know, are looking for employment, I encourage you to visit OhioMeansJobs.com. This website will help you map out a career plan, search for jobs by area or field, and post your resume for employers to see. New jobs are posted daily, so check back often to see if there’s something new for you.
As our work continues, we can expect to see more jobs and successes coming to our region. Together, we can continue to make our community grow and thrive.
Senator Bill Beagle serves the people of Ohio’s 5th Senate District, which includes Miami and Preble Counties as well as portions of Montgomery and Darke Counties. He presides as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Workforce & Economic Development.