The latest employment news in Kansas is just peachy, according to the first paragraph of Friday’s Department of Labor press release. But that’s misleading as hell.
It says “the April seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent. This was down from 3.8 percent in March and down from 4.1 percent in April 2016.”
Let’s all celebrate!
Sorry, but as I’ve discussed before, the unemployment rate is not the best way to determine whether Kansas or any other state is truly healthy when it comes to jobs. Know what you really look at? The number of jobs.
Let’s tick off the vital, dismal facts in Kansas, where Brownback once proclaimed that the reckless income tax cuts he championed in 2012 would lead to a resurgence in employment in the Sunflower State.
— Total nonfarm jobs plummeted by 4,800 in April over March.
— They fell 2,500 over the last 12 months.
— That was a growth rate of minus 0.2 percent.
— And that was tied for the fourth worst rate in the entire country.
(In Missouri, the state was up 3,300 jobs in April, and has gained 36,700 the last year, a growth rate of 1.3 percent. That’s 25th best in the country.)
Friday’s news comes as Bryan Lowry of The Kansas City Star is reporting that Brownback could be up for a new job as “an ambassadorship focused on promoting religious liberty worldwide.”
Remember when Brownback pledged in his 2014 campaign that Kansas could create 100,000 jobs in his second term? That would amount to around 57,000 new jobs since then.
However, Kansas employment is up only 12,200 since January 2015 — meaning Kansas is a staggering 45,000 jobs behind the Brownback goal.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Legislature is still trying to decide how it’s going to close more than a $1 billion budget gap over the next two years. Killing part or all of the Brownback income tax cuts properly is on the list of potential solutions. Yes, that’s easily the best starting point.
Brownback already has vetoed a tax increase that would have helped balance the budget. Sadly, the guy who broke Kansas still has some power over how to fix it.