Well that’s embarrassing: Ga. has Highest Unemployment in the Nation

A report out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Georgia with the highest unemployment rate in the country. I scrolled back to 1976 and I couldn’t find a single month in which Georgia had this dubious distinction. This is bad news in general, but it is especially bad news if you’ve based your entire reelection campaign around your achievements in creating jobs. This is the campaign splash page for Nathan Deal:

nathan deal jobs


Well, the results are in, and it doesn’t look like jobs or growth. It is likely that the Deal campaign will quibble with the data and point out that the numbers aren’t uniformly bad. For instance, employment in Hall County is very good, and job retention among the immediate Deal friends and family is at an all-time high.

But unemployment numbers aren’t just bad for the unemployed. They are bad for everybody. High unemployment has social costs, but among the economic costs are higher governmental costs in unemployment benefits, subsidized food and housing programs, and Medicaid. Secondary costs are higher crime, lower tax receipts (thus cutting programs or raising taxes to compensate), and downward pressure on wages (though this is considered a benefit in attracting businesses to the state).

Map of the US by state unemployment rate after the jump:





  1. Ralph says:

    The false doom and gloom of the above and liberal media sources ignoring population increases and previously discouraged workers back looking for work also ignore these statistics:

    “First quarter 2014 tax revenues for four selected state and
    local government tax categories increased 2.4 percent to
    $295.7 billion from $288.7 billion in the same quarter of
    2013.” http://www2.census.gov/govs/qtax/2014/q1infosheet.pdf

    That is on top of last year’s revenue recovery from the Great Recession which allowed more funds to expand the Hope Scholarship and the education budget.

    “Non-farm jobs reported has grown by 41,400, to the highest mark since June 2008. Unemployment claims have continued a four-year downward trend (see nearby graph). The number of people out of work for 27 weeks or more is down by more than 9,000 since April.

    The number of private jobs rose between July and August by 8,100; the number of government jobs by 16,600 (mostly seasonal education employees returning to work with the beginning of the school year). Employment rose in goods-producing industries (5,700) as well as service industries (19,000). Manufacturing and construction, two sectors hit hard by the Great Recession, continued their upward trend.” http://kylewingfield.blog.ajc.com/2014/09/18/jobs-are-up-but-so-is-the-jobless-rate-whats-going-on/

    • Will Durant says:

      Pennington pointed out that 46% of the “revenue recovery” was due to the “elimination of the birthday tax” on vehicles. Is that also considered a “liberal media source”?

      • Ralph says:

        Pennington was running against Deal and could/did claim a lot of things. Even if 46% did somehow come from the switch from an annual ad valorum tax on cars to registration fees, what about the other 54% of the increased revenue?

        Care to address the recent high jobs mark since 2008, and low mark in unemployment claims?

        Figures don’t lie (except when they are manipulated), but liars figure.

        • Georgia’s unemployment insurance isn’t as generous as other states so you can’t claim what you can’t get.

          I dunno that took me like 15 seconds does that work for you?

    • Stefan says:

      I see your point, but the issue is Georgia’s performance relative to the nation as a whole. It is really the only measure you can judge a Governor on, no?

      • Ralph says:

        I don’t think you can hold a Governor of 4 years mostly during a major recession responsible for statistical unemployment figures when actual jobs have increased and unemployment claims have decreased. He cannot control a growing population and previously discouraged job seekers overwhelming job increases.

        He should be judged by his policies and compared to those opposition policy proposals.

        • Not to give free strategic advice, but Deal’s problem is you look like an out of touch doofus when you’re saying “We’re #1” and then the labor department says actually you’re #50.

        • tribeca says:

          He should be judged by his policies? Well, it seems his policies have bravely guided us to the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

          I get that unemployment percentage, when taken by its lonesome, isn’t the most accurate measure of economic health. However, the average voter isn’t going to see this news report and think to themselves “yeah, this is high, but let’s look at nuance and context.” I would have more sympathy for the Deal camp’s attempts to unskew this number if Fox News et al. hadn’t spent the past 5+ years stressing the unreliability of unemployment numbers as a liberal, commie-loving apologist.

  2. Three Jack says:

    #1 in unemployment, bottom in education and can’t wake up to address a pending snowstorm when the 3am call was placed. Vote Deal!

  3. This is just Deal and the RGA’s comeuppance for going after Barnes for Georgia having the most job losses in the nation during his term. It just happened to coincide with having the biggest airport and a period right after 9/11 – but they didn’t feel the details were important then so why should we listen to their details now?

    • David C says:

      It also, like I pointed out in another thread, was the only time Georgia lost jobs, ever, in the official data, and then only for a month or so. And of course it was dwarfed by what happened on Sonny’s watch in 2008-09. But Georgia’s Republicans haven’t figured out the old South “race to the bottom” doesn’t work anymore. ’01 was the canary in the coal mine, and nobody in state leadership noticed.

    • Bill Dawers says:

      It looks to me that Wingfield is conflating data from the household survey with data from the payroll establishment survey. The DOL has been conflating the numbers for years in their public statements.

  4. Bill Dawers says:

    We won’t have all the numbers for August until next Thursday, but you can look at the July data from which the unemployment rate is calculated here: http://www.dol.state.ga.us/pdf/pr/laborforce.pdf

    As you can see, the seasonally adjusted numbers suggest that the size of the labor force has basically been stagnant — almost exactly the same as the previous month and the previous year. This household survey that determines characteristics of the labor force is not showing the same types of job gains that we’re seeing the payroll survey data. There are a variety of possible ways of looking at these numbers, and I’m inclined to wait till next week’s release before trying to make good sense of this latest increase.

    I’ve posted here a number of times about regional differences in job growth as indicated by the payroll survey — that remains a critical problem. Of the state’s 14 metro areas, over half have seen negligible job growth, or actual declines in payroll jobs, over the past year. (http://onlinepressroom.net/gdol/)

    • saltycracker says:

      Looking forward to your breakdown. It is tricky to balance the unemployment numbers with the population growth being in the top 1/3 rd of the US and the tax revenue growth we are seeing (dont think it is fewer are making more either). Wouldn’t think we are a jobless sanctuary state or have an extreme underground economy ( it is huge but so are other states) and it is harder to fill the jobs out there……..something is amiss – MSYBE we just mess with the definition too much

      • Stefan says:

        Agreed, but the issue isn’t do we have job growth or job losses, the issue is, what is the performance of our state versus other states. Every state is gaining jobs, we are just getting less of them than other states. That is what Deal has told us to judge him on. So…

  5. Harry says:

    Another conspiracy theory would have it that, since the GOP took over the reins of Georgia state government, the feds have been responsible for tremendous job losses due to the closure of Ft. McPherson, deactivation of Dobbins AFB, and relocation of a huge number of IRS jobs to other cities. The Democratic UAW and their captive auto companies have been responsible for the closure of the Doraville GM assembly plant and the Hapeville Ford assembly plant. Also, the media has become much less friendly to Georgia.

      • Harry says:

        When the Democrats controlled this state we were the media’s southern poster child. We got the Olympics, Democratic and other conventions, we got federal jobs and contracts. Since the GOP took control, all of a sudden we’re the goat.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      You forgot about Fort Gillem.

      It’s indeed conspiracy theory. I’d suggest Georgia’s loss of military and federal jobs as a percentage of those jobs here wasn’t significantly different than other states.

      As concerns the UAW and the Hapeville plant, the plant was among Ford’s best producers prior to its closure. When it came time for major plant retooling after a long successful run assembling the Taurus, Ford decided to close the plant because the site layout and building were antiquated, and the site too small and remote from other Ford operations. For context, the West Point KIA plant is located on 2,200 acres. The Hapeville plant site is 122 acres.

      The Doraville GM plant had the same general deficiencies. It was a 60 year old plant on a small site remote to other GM operations.

          • Harry says:

            I’m referring to the jobs lost during the time span during which Republicans have been seen as controlling the state, not just the last year or two. Your links however do support my overall thesis that Democrats tend to punish red states. When I say Democrats, I don’t just mean a Democratic Obama administration, but also the federal managers in DC who try to punish red states no matter who is president. In attempting to move the more lucrative jobs to non red states you folks are setting up conditions that will help facilitate a second civil war, and your side loses because all the productive resources (human and other) will be opposed to the federal overpaid bureaucrats and paper pushers.

                • Dave Bearse says:

                  “I’m referring to the jobs lost during the time span during which Republicans have been seen as controlling the state, not just the last year or two.”

                  It some point it’s a waste of time to rebut, but I’ll do it anyway. The credibility of the theory was dead from the get-go. The decision to close Ft. McPherson (and also Ft. Gillem and the Navy Supply Corps School) occurred in the 2005 BRAC, with Bush II and GOP House and Senate presiding.

                  The temporal confusion is understandable though. When Paul Ryan in a speech televised to millions at the 2012 GOP Nat’l Convention blamed the Obama administration for the closing of the GM Janesville, WI assembly plant in Ryan’s own district, and the plant was closed in 2008 before Obama was even sworn into office, it’s clear that the GOP bubble’s distortion of reality includes time as well as observation.

                  • Harry says:

                    BRAC was controlled by federal bureaucrats, not the Bush administration. What political party do you suppose most federal bureaucrats support because they get the most benefits from that party?

                    The high Georgia unemployment rate is due to several factors including demographics, but seeing the same trend in other red states of decrease in federal jobs, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was more than a nominal element of political retribution involved. That’s how socialists roll. One thing for sure though, regardless what anyone says Gov. Deal has little effect on employment in Georgia whether positive or negative.

  6. And to Jason Carter’s point, folks have left technical colleges, not come back, and not found jobs.

    … The last part was added by me, but should have been added to the messaging.

    However, without adding that on, it’s quite obvious Jason Carter can’t correlate technical college enrollment to employment.

  7. Three Jack says:

    I’m reading these posts in amazement. The same folks who want to make Obama look worse by playing with labor statistics flip to try and make Deal look better using the same stats. You can’t have it both ways folks.

    If the unemployment rate had dropped, we would be reading about Deal the job creator. Instead we have to deal with hypocritical analysis meant to distort the facts in order to re-elect a less than ethical geezer.

    • Harry says:

      The feds, the Fed, and business cycles have considerable more influence over the unemployment rate than does the governor of Georgia.

      • taylor says:

        I agree. But don’t those same factors affect the other 49 states as well? Who is responsible for many of Georgia economic rankings declining – relative to the nation – over the last decade. Or, maybe instead of asking who, let’s say who cares? More importantly, what policies are leading to this?

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