Ohio is beginning to experience signs that its economy is on the rebound. While climbing out of a difficult economic hole never happens as quickly as any of us would prefer, job creation is increasing and it appears that Ohio is moving in the right direction to become more competitive on a national scale.
Creating jobs has been the mission of the 129th General Assembly since we first convened in the House in January. This required a close inspection of how our state government interacts and intervenes in the job-producing sector of our economy. Looking back at the trends of previous years, it was obvious that Ohios government needed to reduce spending and lighten the tax burden on the citizens of the state. While government cannot create jobs, it can create an economic environment in which entrepreneurs are encouraged to bring their businesses within our borders and hire local employees.
As a member of the Economic and Small Business Development Committee, I have had the opportunity to debate and contribute to a number of bills that I believe will help lead to the creation of jobs, not only in the short term, but also for many years to come. I think the outlook for Ohio looks promising. From October 2010 to October 2011, employment in Ohio increased by 63,000 workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. During that same time, the states unemployment rate dropped from 9.7 percent to 9.0 percent.
A particular point of interest recently has been the development of Ohios natural resources by drilling into the oil and natural gas reserves under the eastern portion of the state. By utilizing a procedure known as hydraulic fracturing, drillers should be able to penetrate the Utica and Marcellus shale that lies above those reserves.
We must make it a priority to carefully analyze any environmental impacts that this process may have. But hydraulic fracturing has a proven track record of success.
In fact, since the early 1950s, about 80,000 wells have been drilled in Ohio by using hydraulic fracturing without a single confirmed case of groundwater contamination, according to the Ohio Engineers Association.
Drilling for oil and natural gas can lead to billions of dollars being pumped into our area, not only for drilling companies, but also for all local businesses in the areas where drilling will take place. We have already seen large amounts of money coming in from this industry.
Additionally, the potential number of jobs that could be created has been estimated at about 200,000, and this could hopefully be a positive step toward our nation becoming more energy independent.
The most exciting part about this development is the fact that the counties in the 96th House District are right in the middle of this economic opportunity.