Ohio unemployment fell to 8.1 in December, down from 8.5 in November and from 9.5 in December 2010.
Kasich said he's hearing from businesses that are excited to invest in Ohio again.
"We're alive again. We're out of the ditch. We're growing," he said.
Redfern criticized Kasich's promotion of a Bob Evans Restaurants expansion last year that relocated the company from Columbus to neighboring New Albany.
"It's not about moving Bob Evans across town," he said. "It's about investing in American automobile jobs that help real communities like Defiance in a tangible, trackable, empirical way."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich: http://www.governor.ohio.gov
Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus and Ann Sanner in Steubenville contributed to this report.
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