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Jobs: Pick a Number, Politicize

From presidential politics on the national stage to the campaign for governor here in Missouri, the candidates are playing from the same playbook.

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 campaign staff for Republican candidate for governor, Dave Spence, picked up on this, mentioning the reporting on the job numbers by Missouri Journal in a campaign video.

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.

Will any politician notice the latest unemployment report by Missouri Journal?

Only New York and California had a larger drop than Missouri in initial weekly unemployment insurance claims, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday.

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.

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missourijournal.com, (314) 482-7944

Hook is editor of Missouri Journal, which tracks the economy across the Show-Me State

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Joe Merriman May 25, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I pick 43,000 jobs lost when the Fenton leaders sold the 2 state of the art Chrysler plants for scrap. Those jobs could have been brought back to work now that the auto industry sales rebound. And if not Chrysler then GM Wentzville could have moved into the state of the art plant and save GM $380 million to build a new plant. Thank you Fenton and Missouri politicians hope you get your just reward in November.
Pat Maloney (Wilken) May 27, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I feel so sorry for our younger people who have to try to understand all these figures, and make sense of them, knowing that what they are reading is not the complete truth. I hate the way politicians manipulate the figures to their own advantage. Politics has become so bad now that the media picks up on everything, including the color of socks someone wears, to how many times they use the restroom. Our young, first-time voters, and our younger voters believe all the written garbage and have no where to really get the whole truth. And in actuality, there is never the real truth, to be had out there anymore. Our politicians have lost their common sense. When one does come along, who acts like they might have some common sense, they are soon gone. Too bad. Good luck to you all who are voting for the first time, and to the ones who are young and who have such high ideals. Try to keep those ideals, because sometime in the future, you will need them.
Pat Maloney (Wilken) May 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I agree with you, Joe.....what a colossal waste of money....tearing those plants down.
Karen May 27, 2012 at 01:09 PM
That is why we as a nation need smaller government. The economy is stalled because of politics. The government can't "create" jobs. And the government can't "help" people. People need to help people.

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