The news yesterday sounds fantastic. Just 4% unemployment in Schuylkill County. That’s got to be some sort of modern record.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics data only goes back to January 1990. And in that time, the unemployment rate never got close to that figure.
Even if the number’s adjusted up slightly, there’s never been a lower unemployment rate in Schuylkill County.
Of course, you go back in the coal region’s heydays, you’d probably find plenty of time when less Schuylkill County residents were out of work.
But that’s as far as the numbers go back and they show a very clear picture …
The unemployment rate in Schuylkill County since Trump took office has gone down nearly 3 full percentage points.
Of course, this is after former President Obama joked that Trump doesn’t have some “magic wand” to bring jobs back.
If you do share this, you’ll probably have people comment that the job gains here started under Obama. But really, look at that chart … how much worse could it have gotten?
For about half of Obama’s time in office, nearly 10% of Schuylkill County residents were out of work.
In the best of times under Obama, about 6% of us were looking for work. That’s not brag material.
Actually, if you look at it, we work a lot more when a certain party is in the White House and a lot less when the other’s inhabiting.
Now, a 4% unemployment rate? That’s not too shabby. It’s right in line with the state and national rates, just slightly worse now.
Get ready for the “Yeah, but what kind of jobs are they?” arguments. They’re talking about the supposedly lousy jobs at any of the distribution centers or similar jobs that have done nothing but put food on thousands of peoples’ tables for nearly 20 years now.
When people say that, it’s really demeaning to the people who have those jobs.
Here’s another thing important to remember:
Schuylkill County in its heyday was built on the backs and mini-fortunes of tens of thousands of blue collar workers.
If there’s ever to be a rebound here, it won’t come from the self-proclaimed hard work of politicians leading you to believe they’ve created these jobs. Instead, it’ll be from those folks getting out of the way. Going back to work will get us back to where we once were a lot faster than some government-organized revitalization effort.
Putting hundreds and maybe even thousands more Schuylkill County residents back to work puts a little bit more money in our pockets at the end of the week. And just like everyone else, we want to spend some of the “extra” money we have.