Jobless rate flawed stat

Published 10:05 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lawrence County made a positive list this week when it came in as having the second lowest unemployment rate in the entire state of Ohio.

At 5.3 percent, the county’s measure is lower than the state’s 7.8 and the national average of 7.2 percent.

While this is a positive indicator and may be further evidence that the county is heading in the right direction, we shouldn’t let this skew the reality that this region is still behind many others in the state when it comes to employment and job opportunities.

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The system the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services uses to measure unemployment has always been flawed and may not provide a truly accurate measure, though all counties do use the same measurement.

But most importantly, the unemployment rate doesn’t look at average wages, household income or cost of living.

Lawrence County’s per capita income was $23,026 compared to the state average of $33,338.

Just because someone has a job doesn’t mean that is a quality job that provides the wages and benefits needed to raise a family and maintain a quality of life that we all strive.

Attracting and developing quality jobs will improve all of southern Ohio and allow our children to stay at home to raise their families if they choose to do so.

While keeping the unemployment rate low certainly should be viewed as a positive step, we hope our elected leaders realize that this is only one piece of the puzzle.

Being second in unemployment is an encouraging step but we hope to see Lawrence County move up the list of providing jobs that our families can survive on.