For the last few years, Gov. Sam Brownback has crowed about Kansas’ low unemployment rate and said it “proved” his tax cuts were creating more jobs.
That last part was a bald-faced lie. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics figures constantly show Kansas has had one of the lowest job growth rates in the country for more than the last year. Indeed, Kansas actually lost 9,300 jobs in 2016.
Now it turns out the state’s unemployment rate isn’t moving the right direction anymore either.
As new figures released Tuesday show, the Sunflower State’s unemployment rate is becoming less and less something for Brownback and his sycophants to brag about.
Kansas’ 4.6 percent average annual unemployment rate was 12th lowest of all states in 2014. It slipped to 13th lowest in 2015 at 4.2 percent and dropped further to 18th lowest in 2016, remaining at 4.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the U.S. average annual unemployment rate plunged from 6.2 percent in 2014 to 4.9 percent in 2016.
A total of 37 states enjoyed lower unemployment rates in 2016 than in 2015, even while Kansas stayed flat. Missouri was one of them: Its rate has gone from 6.2 percent in 2014 to 4.5 percent in 2016.
Just a few months ago, experts on the Kansas economy even predicted that the U.S. unemployment rate would drop below the state’s rate by 2018. That would be a big and historical reversal of the status quo.
Using Brownback’s twisted logic, by the way, a higher unemployment rate in Kansas might not be so bad. Last January, he trotted out this inane excuse for the state’s slow job growth, saying, “It gets tougher the lower your unemployment rate gets, but we think we’ve got some nice things moving.”
As I noted at the time, in reality nine of the 11 states with unemployment rates lower than or equal to the Kansas rate had created jobs faster than the Sunflower State from December 2014 to December 2015.
The sad facts are that Kansas’ unemployment rate isn’t getting better while many other states are adding jobs and often boasting lower numbers of unemployed people.
Yeah, the tax cuts aren’t helping with any of that.