June 14, 2006
Jobs, jobs, jobs

If you're keeping track, the campaign for governor started Tuesday.

As the endorsed DFL ticket headed north for a series of press conferences, Gov. Tim Pawlenty called one of his own to trumpet new unemployment numbers. The unemployment rate in May dropped to 3.7 percent, which the governor noted is the lowest in five years. He said he couldn't take credit for the good numbers, but that he would certainly take the blame if they headed in the opposite direction.

"This is really good news. It'll be one of the lower unemployment rates in the entire nation, and we think it reflects an improving economic situation and job market in Minnesota, with the obviously, the increase in jobs being added in our state."

But both MPR and the Star Tribune noted that the numbers don't tell the whole story. Here's how MPR's Tom Scheck put it:

But the jobless rate declined primarily because people gave up trying to find a job, not because people found work. Steve Hine, research director for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, says 2,500 people found work from April to May. But he says more than 9,000 stopped looking for work altogether during the same time period. He says that group is the bigger factor in last month's declining jobless rate.

"The number of unemployed people can diminish because unemployed people are finding work or because unemployed people are dropping out of the labor force. On the face of it, these numbers look like it's about a 3-1 ratio here in terms of labor force dropouts as opposed to those finding work," according to Hine.

If Gov. Pawlenty was reasonably modest about the unemployment numbers, his campaign manager was not. The governor's campaign manager Michael Krueger was not. He put out this statement:

"Minnesotašs job growth has gone from lukewarm to red hot. If Peter Hutchinson, Mike Hatch, Ken Pentel or Becky Lourey had been Governor the last four years, their tax-more, spend-more policies would have stunted job growth across Minnesota."

In a phone call from Eveleth to MPR's Midday program, DFL-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch responded:

"This kind of juggling of the books doesn't work. For him to try to claim that he hasn't raised taxes is crazy," Hatch said. "I don't intend to be raising taxes. I do intend to manage the state in a prudent manner. I intend to focus on the issues, I talked about. Education, health care, transportation and jobs."

Hatch also responded to those who said his acceptance speech at the party convention on Saturday was, well, boring. He did it by criticizing Pawlenty's speech at the GOP convention:

"I think that speech to the Republican convention about the loving and all of that and the hating if you will was highly inappropriate for a gubernatorial candidate. You can't sit there and cater to one narrow special interest group. I made a point during this convention, even in the midst of an endorsement fight. My speech was to the public--the five million people in Minnesota. It wasn't red meat. It didn't get the crowd revved up. It wasn't supposed to."

Well, mission accomplished there, I guess.

Posted by Mike Mulcahy at 7:00 AM


I have been diligently searching for a job for over 5 months now. I have a mental disibility that has been a barrier to me, however I will not give up. I am at the Workforce Center in Mankato every day, and will be until I receive that offer. So, I have not given up, nor will I. Thank you.

Posted by Barry A. Brigger at July 26, 2006 9:32 AM