Editorial: “Tell it like it is”

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - All last year we heard the "good news" about Alabama's unemployment numbers dropping and new jobs being created all over our fair state.  And while it's true that unemployment has dropped, that is far from being the whole picture and demands we challenge all numbers in the months ahead.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, last year the number of Alabamians employed grew from 1,992,504 to 2,004,317 for a total of 11,813 new jobs.  Interestingly, our unemployment dropped by 14,950. Why aren't these numbers the same you may ask? The difference essentially is made up of 3,137 people who just gave up looking for work. That doesn't make for great headlines and therefore is rarely, if ever mentioned when the monthly job/unemployment statistics are released.

Another way to look at it, Alabama began 2012 with a Civilian Labor Force of 2,160,092. It ended the year with a Civilian Labor Force of 2,156,955. In other words, we ended the year with a smaller labor force than we started with. The Civilian Labor Force is defined as those employed plus those seeking work.

Bottom line, before our state leaders pat themselves on the back for a job well done on jobs, we demand that they regularly peel back the layers on all data and then have the courage to tell it like it is.  We are moving in the right direction on jobs yes, but in order to tackle issues head on we need the true numbers and not the politically friendly ones.

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