Reading the numbers – carefully

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AP today picks up on the crucial bit of analysis reported right here yesterday: Lower numbers of people receiving unemployment benefits is NOT good news. It simply means that more workers have been unemployed for so long that they have exhausted their benefits.

In Minnesota, the Strib headlines State jobless figures show signs of stabilizing and MPR touts a Dramatic slowdown in job losses last month.

Again, looking beyond the numbers shows a different story. Overall, the state had a net job loss of 1,600. And it was small enough to be called any kind of “slowdown,” only because of gains in the tourism and hospitality industries (7,100 jobs), offset losses in trade, transportation, utilities and manufacturing. Quick now – which sectors have seasonal, low-pay, and part-timel jobs? Which sectors pay a living wage year-around? And does the fact that summer is here, with an increase in tourism and hospitality workers, mean that the real MN job picture is “stabilizing”? (MPR also notes that, even with the gain of 7,100 jobs, the tourism and hospitality industry still employs fewer people now than a year ago at this time.)

News with attitude, mostly from MN but with occasional forays abroad.News Day summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to Minnesota news.