The Huffington Post picked up on remarks made at Saturday’s GOP rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm by Senate candidate David Perdue and Labor Secretary Mark Butler with respect to Georgia’s unemployment rate and the number of jobs that have been added in the Peach State.
“We’re working. I agree with whoever said…don’t worry about that unemployment number,” said Perdue. “Worry about the number of jobs created. The raw number. That’s what’s important.”
Perdue was agreeing with a comment by Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler, who had spoken prior to him at the event. Butler said the truly important metric of how the economy was doing was the number of private sector jobs created.
“The reason why we’ve had it [higher unemployment] is there’s been 45,000 less government jobs in the last three months,” said Butler. “The private sector has put up 42,000 jobs in the last three months. Which one do you think is more important? The private sector or government? The private sector.”
Last week, the Labor Department announced the unemployment rate in Georgia rose to 8.0% in July, up six tenths of a point from June.
Butler made a similar claim when he spoke to attendees at a rally in Rome earlier in the day. When he was asked later about where the government job losses came from, he said that they were largely due seasonal cutbacks in education, including things like school bus drivers and cafeteria workers. Now that school has started and classes have begun on college campuses, most all of those workers will be returning to their jobs.
In a hotly contested governor’s race, the incumbent will naturally talk about the number of new jobs created during his watch. The challenger will focus on the unemployment rate, which is the second highest in the country. If Labor Secretary Butler is correct, the unemployment rate will decline as we get closer to the November election.