Georgia’s 7.9 percent unemployment rate for the month of September was again ranked highest in the nation, according to a federal report released this morning.
The state's jobless rate has been thrust into the center of Gov. Nathan Deal's re-election campaign, and his opponents were eagerly awaiting the latest numbers. Democrat Jason Carter contends the metric is a sign that Deal's jobs plan isn't working, while the governor calls the statistic an "outlier" that doesn't accurately gauge the state's economic health.
“Unemployment rates are only good for political advertising as a general rule,” Deal said at Sunday's debate. “Economists don’t pay any attention to them. Businesses don't pay attention to them.”
Deal campaign spokeswoman Jen Talaber highlighted other federal statistics that rank Georgia sixth in the nation for job growth and show more than 80,000 new jobs were created in Georgia in the past year.
"His policies will continue growing jobs in order to keep Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business," she said. "Many economists raised questions about the numbers given that nearly every other economic indicator pointed to strong job growth. Now even the outlier is moving in the right direction."
Georgia had the nation's highest jobless rate for the month of August after a surprising increase to 8.1 percent. The governor has suggested that politicking was behind the “historically faulty” data used for the rankings. Carter, in a statement, called the ranking "absolutely unacceptable."
"Gov. Deal has driven Georgia to the very bottom," said the Democrat. "By his own words, he's rejecting facts instead of accepting responsibility for this crisis. If he can't even see the problem, why should we trust him to fix it?"
Here is the complete ranking list from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Unemployment Rates for States
Sept. 2014 p
|49||DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA||7.7|