Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will be running on his economic record, when he seeks re-election in the fall. He and his fellow Democrats have been boasting about the jobs his policies have created. Not a day goes by when the @CTDems send out a Tweet, reminding us of this. If only it were true.
Malloy’s policies have done more harm than good for Connecticut job growth, since he assumed office more than three years ago. (I know it seems longer.) But that did not stop the party in power from tossing accolades at the latest job numbers released last week. The January jobless rate dipped to 7.2 percent for Connecticut, even though 10,400 jobs were lost that month. Go figure. The state loses jobs and the unemployment rate goes down.
The January numbers were just an illusion for the governor, as he chose to focus on the 21,300 jobs created in Connecticut in 2013. “The annual restatement of job figures is yet another sign that we are making progress in turning our economy around,” the governor said in a statement. “With 53,000 private sector jobs (since he took office) created through the end of last year, we are experiencing one of the best periods of growth that Connecticut has seen in decades.”
Say what? Perhaps the governor missed the fact that more than 10,000 of those jobs vanished in the January figures, that were not included in those “53,000 private sector jobs.” Or maybe he needs to read the story in the New Haven Register headlined: “Connecticut’s underemployed add to bleak jobs picture,” written by J. Brian Charles.
Maybe the governor needs to talk to David Ford, the IT specialist who has been layed off twice since the Great Recession. He lost his job to another country. Or maybe he ought to talk to Ellen Delisio, who struggles to make ends meet with freelance writing jobs, after losing full-time employment.
It might not be a bad idea if the governor examine the U-6 unemployment number rather than the gimmicky U-3, from where that misleading 7.2 percent rate emerged. He might find that the U-6, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, or who are former full-time workers now working part-time, brings the real unemployment rate in Connecticut to 13.9 percent. That’s a far cry from 7.2 percent.
In the story by Charles, New Haven-based economist Don Klepper-Smith was quoted as saying “The least useful statistic used to measure the strength of the economy is the U-3 unemployment rate.”