On Thursday, Connecticut’s Department of Labor released their monthly report on the state of the economy. The data revealed that the percent of unemployed had risen from 8.1 percent in June to 8.5 percent in July. In response, Governor Malloy said he was “skeptical” of the report’s accuracy.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the Obama Administration released a report showing that at least 300,000 teaching jobs have been lost in the last three years. Obama called for new investment in education spending.
The nation’s “official” unemployment rate stands at about 8.3 percent. That means that the true unemployment rate in the United States is at least 15 percent.
Although the media traditionally reports on what is called the “U-3” unemployment rate, a far better measure is one called the “U-6” rate. The “U-6” unemployment rate, which is released at the same time as the lower number, includes the traditional definition of the “unemployed,” but also adds-in those people who are employed in part-time jobs, despite the fact that they are actively looking for full-time work.
While having a part-time job helps some families make ends meet, an honest definition of being unemployed must include those who can’t find the full-time job they need and, instead, are forced to fall back on some type of part-time employment.
Since Connecticut’s numbers are similar to the national numbers, we can safely assume that at least 15% of Connecticut residents continue to find themselves without the work they want and need.
If the truth be told, the notion that the “official” unemployment rate is 8.1 percent or 8.5 percent is, quite frankly, irrelevant.
The very real impact federal, state and local budget cuts have on the economy and our education system becomes clear when we understand that since President Obama took office, the number of Connecticut residents employed in federal, state and local government jobs has dropped from 251,200 to 235,000.
This means that in just the last four years, there are 16,000 few jobs in schools and other government positions around the state.
Of that number, the overwhelming majority, 10,000 jobs, have been lost just since Malloy became Connecticut’s governor.
Last month, President Obama said, “think about what that means for our country. At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America, these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year. That’s the opposite of what we should be doing as a country.”
Today, the President used his weekly address to talk about the loss of teaching jobs, while reiterating his pledge to invest an additional $25 billion to prevent layoffs and strengthen public education around the country.
The sad truth is that regardless of whether the President is calling for more of an investment in education or the Governor is skeptical that the unemployment is going up when “feels” it should be going down, the fact is, Connecticut’s children are returning to school in a couple of weeks with far few teachers and support staff.
That is bad news for unemployed teachers, our children and our entire society.