Monday, December 5, 2016

Jobless Rates: A Comparison, and the Rest of the Picture

WKYT, citing information directly from a state agency's news release, reported  the following:  "State officials say unemployment rates fell in 82 Kentucky counties between October 2015 and October 2016." This sounds like promising news indeed, but WKYT failed to go much deeper than to post the news release without comparison to the previous administration's rates to see if unemployment was truly decreasing as the news release suggests. In other words, they didn’t look at whole picture. We will.


Under the leadership of Gov. Beshear, Kentucky saw 27 more counties with decreased unemployment rates. Kentucky Career Center says of the previous year, "Unemployment rates fell in 109 Kentucky counties between October 2014 and October 2015.”

In a state consisting of 120 counties, Beshear came just 11 counties short of seeing unemployment fall in every county in the Commonwealth. The same cannot be said of Gov. Bevin. In fact, there’s a much more ugly reality: "The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training says jobless rates rose in 33 counties [between October 2015 and October 2016]" (WKYT, 2016).

Let that reality sink in. Gov. Beshear saw increased unemployment in only 11
counties, but unemployment dropped in all other 109 counties. Gov. Bevin saw unemployment fall in 82 counties while unemployment increased in 33. What this means is that after Gov. Bevin and his administration took over, we not only lost the gains of the previous administration, but we saw it reversed.

Let's consider closely our Commonwealth's hardest hit counties.

Between October 2014 and October 2015, Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 11.3 percent. It was followed by Owsley County, 9.2 percent; Letcher County, 9.1 percent; Harlan County, 9 percent; Wolfe County, 8.6 percent; Leslie County, 8.5 percent; Knott and Pike counties, 8.3 percent each; Clay County, 8.2 percent; and Lee County, 8.1 percent (Kentucky Career Center, 2015 )

Compare that to October 2015 through October 2016 (under Matt Bevin), Magoffin County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 14.1 percent. It was followed by Leslie County at 11.6 percent, Harlan County at 10.5 percent, Letcher County at 10.3 percent, Elliott County at 10.1 percent and Floyd County at 9.9 percent. All those Eastern Kentucky counties had increased unemployment under Matt Bevin.

Folks, each number cited here, every percentage point that is talked about, each one is representative of one of our neighbors; someone with kids to feed, a family to support, and dreams they hope to achieve. This is shameful, to say the least, and further justifies the hashtag, #BadMoveBevin because with our current governor, that's what we seem to get: bad moves that are hurting hard-working Kentuckians. Sometimes all they want is their fair shake and an equal shot to build their lives and provide for those they love. These numbers discussed here are not representative of anything close to capable of fulfilling such a promise. Instead, they suggest a downward spiral in the opposite direction.

This is not a picture of promise or of successful leadership. This is not what progress looks like. Not only can we do better, but we must. People's lives and livelihood depend on it.


--


References:

Jobless rates down in 82 Kentucky counties. (2016, November 30). In WKYT. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from
http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Jobless-rates-down-in-82-Kentucky-counties-403719596.html


Jobless rates down in 109 Kentucky counties in October 2015. (2015, December 3). In Kentucky Career Center. Retrieved from
https://kylmi.ky.gov/gsipub/index.asp?docid=572