A recent television advertisement by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius touts “… nearly 2.5 years of positive job growth.” The viewer is, by my estimation, supposed to credit the governor for this growth.
But a look behind the scenes reveals a situation that only a politician could take pride in. Our governor must be hoping that people won’t take a moment to examine the reality.
As reported in The Wichita Eagle on July 7, 2006:
Kansas’ job growth was fourth-worst in the nation during the first quarter, according to a quarterly report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The number of jobs in Kansas grew at a rate of 0.4 percent in the year ending March 31. The national rate was 1.6 percent.
The fastest-growing sectors were in government and construction, which each added about 4,000 jobs.
If it wasn’t for government jobs growing at a rapid rate, our state’s job figures would be even worse.
A quick gathering of some statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for every year from 2002 to 2005, Kansas lags the nation in job growth rate, and by a large amount.
There have been some periods of spectacular job growth in Kansas. The Kansas City Star reported in March 2005 “Nonfarm payroll employment in Kansas grew from January to February by the largest percentage increase of any state, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. ” But this growth was sustained for only one month, and may be the result of some statistical anomaly.
For growth in jobs over a period of time, however, our state is lagging far behind the country as a whole, and this is something Governor Sebelius is proud of.