By Dave Fidlin
The Center Square

Ohio’s chances of staving off a recession during next year’s presidential election received mixed commentary in two recently published analyses on states’ current conditions and predictions for possible economic headwinds in the year head.

Researchers with Bloomberg suggested the Buckeye State could be one of seven across the U.S. entering a state of contraction, while the online economic publication Fit Small Business placed Ohio No. 12 on its look at the states most likely to survive a recession.

In addition to Pennsylvania, Bloomberg’s analysis suggests three other battleground states – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – that tilted in President Donald Trump’s favor in the 2016 race could be vulnerable to contraction during the upcoming pivotal election year.

The Bloomberg analysis was based on data from the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia. Indexes reveal Ohio’s economy contracted 0.04 percent at the end of the third quarter of this year. By contrast, the national economy continued to expand at the end of 2018 in the state to the tune of 0.67 percent.

Beyond the four battleground states, the Bloomberg report concluded three other states face the possibility of contraction: Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Although the seven states were singled out, Bloomberg’s Alexandre Tanzi and Gregory Korte said the assertion does not necessarily paint a dire portrait of any of the states’ economies in the road ahead.

“The data don’t predict recessions in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio,” Tanzi and Korte wrote in the article. “Rather, it shows the states may be entering a weak period in their business cycles.”

Some states are facing the possibility of economic growth in the year ahead, according to the Federal Reserve. Sixteen states, many in the south, are expected to grow by indexes greater than 1.5 percent within the next six months.

Ohio faired better in the Fit Small Business report, “Best States to Survive a Recession in 2020.” The organization’s analysis dug into such data as availability of stabilization funds, economic strength and diversity, the unemployment rate and a look at each state’s performance in the 2008 recession.

The state received an overall score of 31.5 in the analysis. Top performer Texas, by comparison, received a score of 35.37, while the No. 50 state on the list – Montana – notched a score of 21.2.

Among the factors impacting Ohio’s placement on Fit Small’s Business’ ranking were its availability of stabilization funds, which stood at 6.4 percent.

Several states have double-digit stabilization funds available, including Texas (18.7 percent) and West Virginia (16.8 percent). Neighboring Pennsylvania, by contrast, is among the states currently without stabilization funds available.

Ohio’s score was dinged in other areas, however, including the rate of unemployment, which stood at 4.1 percent at the time of the analysis. Just 10 states had higher rates of unemployment, by comparison, at the time of the analysis.

While variables from one state to the next varied widely in some instances, Kelly Main, a staff writer with Fit Small Business, said the organization’s analysis revealed some general trends in different regions of the country.

“Our research revealed that, generally, both Southern and Midwestern states are best equipped to handle the next recession,” Main wrote.