Home > Politics > Liz Carter unemployment numbers miss the mark

Liz Carter unemployment numbers miss the mark

September 1, 2010

unemployment in DeKalb, Rockdale, Gwinnett

Ms. Carter stated that the economy is a priority issue in her District ” with almost 17% unemployment, approximately double that of the nation’s rate”;

via Message to Republicans Abroad 5: Political Sense-and, Sensibility – Washington DC Republican | Examiner.com.

It is a slow time in politics right now, especially concerning the 4th district race, but I was surprised to learn that unemployment in the 4th was nearly double that of the national average. At least that is what Liz Carter is quoted as saying at the above web-site. Apparently Ms. Carter spoke with Republicans Abroad Radio where she supposedly made the statement. After listening to the broadcast, Carter actually stated that parts of the district have rates as high as 17%. But even if she was misquoted, 17 percent unemployment seems high even for parts of the district, so I did a quick dig on the numbers. According to the the U.S. Dept. of labor, the unemployment rates for the three counties that make up the fourth averaged 10.3 percent. Rockdale at 11.2% was highest followed by DeKalb at 10.5% and Gwinnett the lowest with 9.3%. This was in July of 2010, the last numbers available. That s a far cry from 17% and right about the state average of 10.3%. Thats not saying these are great numbers, but not the 17% claimed. Since I could not find up to date district data or census tract data, I decided to use the county data as well as data for sub-groups. All of this can be easily found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because a vast majority of the district falls in DeKalb, It is safe to say that unemployment in the district is not 17%. Now I am sure there are streets, or maybe an aprtment complex or an extended stay motel with extreme rates of unemployment, but it is unlikely any significant portion of the district is suffering from 17% unemployment. For a novice or someone who knows nothing about the district,  they may think the 4th was full of unemployed, good for nothing citizens. It distorts the reality of the district which is in line with state unemployment. After talking with a campaign staffer for Carter, it was obvious that there was no intention to disparage certain parts of the district, but to an outsider it does make the district look worse off than it actually is. A better summation of the unemployment in the district would have been it hovers around ten percent with some sub-groups(teens, less educated persons), that have historically high unemployment, continuing to suffer. Some of you will try to sell me on underemployment, the folks who want to work full-time but can only get part-time work, well they are still employed. Maybe not what they want but employed none the less. I hope Liz was taken out of context and I hope she is more accurate on portraying certain parts of the district, because we all know that 17 percent unemployment would make portions of DeKalb worse off than many developing world countries.

Here is the broadcast


Here is the site that produced the quote and broadcast


  1. Al Rakel
    October 25, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I cannot for the life of me understand why people in the 4th Congressional District still support Hank Johnson. Can’t you see that Ms.Carter is exactly right. $700+ billion was spent on a stimulus package that hasn’t done a thing to stimulate the economy. It was $700 billion for special interests/political paybacks. Hank Johnson voted for this and where are the jobs???? Why couldn’t they spend some money on much needed infrastructure improvements that would have provided jobs. Now the democrats can’t make a decision on taxes and the entire business community is waiting to see how any tax changes will affect them before they hire additional personnel. Can’t you see that this indecision is bad for our local economy and the job market? Can’t you see that the repeal of the Bush tax cuts would be devastating to the economy and the jobs situation? These are common sense issues, but Hank Johnson and his fellow democrats can’t make common sense decisions. They’ve driven us deeper and deeper into debt and we don’t have a thing to show for it. The health care issue should should have never been addressed until our people were back at work and the economy was healthy again. Again, Hank Johnson and the dems cannot priortize their agenda. Please, please, please give somebody else a chance to make things better. Please consider looking past party politics and voting for someone who truly wants to help. Please vote for somebody who knows how to help. Please vote for Liz Carter next week. If you have read this, thank you!!!

  2. September 2, 2010 at 1:47 am

    You are welcome, I follow your blog 🙂

    The problem with the U3 measure right now is that too many are “underemployed” and have been forced to take part time jobs and are not counted in the U3 measure. I don’t think those who have taken a part time job or a drastically reduced salary because of the economy is considered a personal decision. That’s why I reference the U6 measure. Most of the time I reference both the U3 and U6, but in this interview I did talk about the U6. Why? I’ve spent months talking with people in our district that are under employed or who have been out of work for over a year. I don’t feel as though the U3 is an accurate picture for many right now.

    The stimulus policy did not work. “Since the stimulus was passed Georgia has lost over 124,000 jobs and the unemployment rate has risen from 8.7% to 10%(U3).” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7/26/10)

    We have to cut corporate taxes, end payroll taxes and make it more expensive to send a job overseas than have that job here in the U.S. If we do this, we’ll see the U3 and U6 unemployment numbers drop.

    We also have to make sure small businesses have access to necessary monies to expand. Entrepreneurs need access to start up monies.

    Our district is hurting and you can’t deny that we have issues with education and public safety – both need to be addressed as well to keep the jobs we have and to attract new businesses to the area.

    Have you attended any of the Focuss DeKalb community meetings? At each meeting four major concerns were brought up – Jobs, Education, Public Safety and Making DeKalb Clean. All of these issues are critical to returning our community back to the shining jewel it once was! We can do it and I will help do it!

  3. September 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Mr South DeKalb,
    The unemployment figures I am quoting are the U6 unemployment figures, otherwise known as the fully loaded real unemployment rate. U6 covers those who have given up on finding a job, are no longer eligible, or are under-employed. Our district does have as high as 17% and it is very unfortunate.
    Thanks for the air cover.

    • September 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks for reading.

      I based all my research on the official unemployment numbers which is the U3 measure which is based on the International Labor Org.It defines unemployment as those who are currently not working, can work, currently seeking, and currently available to work. It does not include those who are underemployed or those who have decided to give up on job search altogether. Those are personal decisions. My main argument though is that 17 % is a mis characterization of the actual unemployment rate in the 4th. Unemployment is a problem in the district, but no worse than any other district in the state no worse than most areas of the country.

  1. September 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm
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