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Liz Carter unemployment numbers miss the mark

September 1, 2010 5 comments

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

http://www.wsradio.com/player/wsradio-player2.cfm/type/windows/show/Republicans-Abroad-Radio/segment/34308.html

Here is the site that produced the quote and broadcast

http://www.republicansabroadradio.com/