Rhetoric vs. Reality -- What's really happening in the 5th District's job market
Contact: Mark Dillon, 816-960-1492
MEDIA ADVISORY, Aug. 22 /Christian Newswire/ -- In a recent taxpayer-funded newsletter mailing to constituents of Missouri's 5th Congressional District, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver detailed the statistical improvement in the nation's job market over the past year. Nationally, there's been a modest level of renewed private industry hiring, which he illustrated accurately with a bar chart.
What our Congressman left out, however, is the story of what's been happening in Jackson County and Cass County, Missouri. Unemployment rates in our backyards as of June 2010 were higher, not lower, than a year earlier, U.S. Department of Labor figures show, and payrolls in the Kansas City metro area dropped for same 12-month period in nearly every major sector of the economy except for heath care.
Looking at Missouri as a whole, some 16.2% of the labor force -- one out of every six workers -- was either unemployed, discouraged or employed fewer hours than they would like as of June 2010. That compares to just 10.8% of the workforce as of a year earlier. This percentage is generally believed to be much higher in urban areas of the 5th District, but the federal government does not report such specific data separately on a regular basis.
Are we better off than a year and a half ago? Four years ago? Not by a long shot.
Unemployment rate Nov. 2006 Jan. 2009 June 2010
Jackson County 5.4% 9.2% 10.3%
Cass County 4.3% 8.8% 9.3%
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Who's hiring? Not many.
Kansas City metro area employment June 2009 to June 2010
Total change in non-farm payrolls -1.2% 11,700 jobs lost
Information technology -5.3%
Financial services -4.1%
Other services -3.1%
Business and professional services -1.7%
Retail-wholesale trade, transportation and utilities -1.4%
Health care and education +1.7%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How is the "Recovery Act" being spent in the 5th District?
More than $400 million on government programs and projects........1,148 jobs created
Source: Congressman' Cleaver's August 2010 newsletter
In his newsletter, Rep. Cleaver says he considers a job "the best social program" and that he
has worked to create jobs "from my days as Mayor" of Kansas City (1991 to 1999). The reality is that between 1990 and 2007, a net total of 14 private sector jobs were created in Jackson County while government employers added 4,657 jobs, three-quarters of which were at the local level. Jacob Turk thinks the 5th District, and America, needs a different approach.
Change in Jackson County jobs
Selected economic sectors 1990-2007
Trade, transportation and utilities -7,720
Information technology -5,356
Health and education +4,081
Total private industry +14
Federal government -3,958
State & local government +8,605
We think Rep. Cleaver deserves credit for helping to bring and maintain a few companies and jobs within the region, such as the Smith Electric Vehicles in Kansas City, Dow Kokam in Lee's Summit and Ford in Claycomo, as outlined in his newsletter.
But what is missing is a discussion of what to do about the much longer list of companies - large and small -- that in the past year have announced plans to lay off hundreds of people, cut back operations or plan to relocate out of the 5th District, including H&R Block, American Airlines, DST, Cerner, JP Morgan Chase, Hoefer Wysocki , Assurant Health Care, and HNTB.
America and Kansas City are at a crossroads, says Jacob Turk: "We can take our leadership in a new direction by looking for fresh answers. We need to squarely face the economic challenges, bureaucratic obstacles and Democratic machine politics that have consistently destroyed jobs in our region for decades and come to a genuine consensus to better shape our region’s future."
Jacob Turk, Republican candidate for the 5th District, believes that our next representative must
• Listen to all
• Lead with integrity
• Protect life and property
• Champion opportunity