Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Days Are (Still) Not Here Again

Happy Days Are (Still) Not Here Again

Ohio Among 10 Lowest States on U.S. Well-Being Index

by John Michael Spinelli

May 13, 2009

COLUMBUS, OHIO: Only Mississippi, Kentucky and West Virginia ranked lower than Ohio on a national well-being index that not only considered absence of infirmity and disease but also a state of physical, mental and social well-being.

Performed by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the first and largest survey of its kind, with 1,000 calls a day, seven days a week, Ohio ranked 47th among the nation's 50 states on six sub-indices including life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment and basic access.

The top 10 states ranged from #1 Utah to #10 Arizona. The report showed a clear pattern of higher well-being states located primarily in the West and lower well-being states in the Midwest and the South.

The Web site of The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index™, an alliance with America's Health Insurance Plans, says it has been developed to "provide the official measure for health and well-being. It's the voice of Americans and the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to measure what people believe constitutes a good life."

Of Ohio's 18 Congressional Districts, District #08 (John Boehner,R), #12 (Pat Tiberi, R) and #14 (Steve LaTourette, R)ranked in the middle 20 percent.

Districts one level down from the middle 20 percent were #05 (Bob Latta, R), #16 John Boccieri, D), #15 (Mary Jane Kilroy, D) and #02 (Jean Schmidt, R)).

At the bottom were #09 (Marcy Kaptur, D), #13 (Betty Sutton, D), #10 (Dennis Kucinich, D), #11 (Marcia Fudge, D), #17 (Tim Ryan, D), #04 (Jim Jordan, R), #18 (Zack Space, D), #06 (Charlie Wilson,D), #07 (Steve Austria, R), #03 (Mike Turner, R), and #01 (Steve Driehaus, D).

But are these rankings any wonder, given the loss of 269,000 more jobs in the past 15 months, which has produced the highest unemployment rate in 25 years (9.7%)? With more than one in 10 Ohioans receiving food stamps and with more than one-third of Ohio's schoolchildren now qualifying for the federal lunch program and Ohio's food pantries with more hungry mouths than they have food to feed, the well-being of Ohioans is in deep trouble.

Coinciding with this gloomy news were reports that seven companies in business in Ohio plan to eliminate another 2,300 jobs at plants in more than a dozen locations. Moribund auto sales were credited for the job losses.

Keith Ewald of the Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information said in a published report the number of unemployed Ohioans is now 577,500, up nearly 200,000 from a year ago.

Ewald, who said the "job market will likely be one of the last parts of the economy to recover," was joined in his dark prognostication by James Newton, chief economic adviser for Commerce National Bank in Columbus, who said, "Job markets are going to be horrible for quite some time."

John Michael Spinelli is a Certified Economic Development Financing Professional, business and travel writer and former credentialed Ohio Statehouse political reporter. He is registered to lobby in Ohio and is the Director of Ohio Operations for Tubular Rail Inc. To send a tip or comment, email

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