From presidential politics on the national stage to the campaign for governor here in Missouri, the candidates are playing from the same playbook.
While the jobless are searching for new jobs, politicians of every stripe are picking their favorite unemployment number and proclaiming they can create jobs better than the other candidates.
For the first four months of this year, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, traveled around the state promoting the number of jobs created in the state. Yet, he never mentioned more people were leaving the labor force than landing new jobs.
Nixon's staff even touted that the state added more workers during the first quarter than in any of the eight bordering states. However, the labor force in Missouri dropped by more workers than in every bordering state except for in Tennessee.
The labor numbers were about to change, though. For the first time this year, the unemployment report for April, released last week, shows more people started jobs than left the labor force.
The newest campaign video from the Spence camp, however, highlights another Missouri Journal story from last week, reporting that the state had the largest increase of weekly unemployment claims in the nation during the previous week, surpassing New York, Pennsylvania, California and Texas.
Nothing was mentioned about new jobs in the state now surpassing the drop in the labor force.
This does not necessarily mean the jobs picture in Missouri is improving.
By almost any economic measure, the labor market in the state is anemic, at best.
Here's the rub: Despite handsomely paying political operatives, giving some scraps to staffers, and helping keep the media afloat with millions of dollars in advertising, politicians create very few jobs.