Leader Blues

Thursday, January 24, 2008

EDITORIAL>> Huck wrong on job figures

Here’s a shocker: The Washington Post says Mike Huckabee has not been quite truthful about his economic stewardship of Arkansas. Mike Huckabee not truthful? Tell us it ain’t so.

Huckabee tells crowds on the campaign trail and in the presidential debates that he created “a record number of jobs” in his 10 ˝ years as governor of Arkansas.

A fact checker at the Post took the trouble to go to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which anyone can access by the Internet. It has recorded the number of new jobs in each state every year since 1976.

Between 1996 and 2006, Huckabee’s years as governor, Arkansas recorded 113,900 new jobs. Between 1986 and 1996, 10 years of Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker in the governor’s office, Arkansas landed 206,100 new jobs.

Between 1976 and 1986, when Clinton, Frank White and David Pryor ran things, the number was 141,400. So Huckabee set a record all right, but for the worst job-creation performance, not the best.

A spokesperson for the Huckabee campaign said that the “record” performance was for one year, 2005, when the state had the highest job growth for one 12-month period since 1976.

That is true, for Arkansas and much of the country, but in several other years prior to that Arkansas actually had a net loss of jobs.

The governor might have boasted reliably that he did set one employment record, and it is one that for which he had a direct hand: new state government jobs. They soared from 43,000 to 53,000 while he was governor, close to 23 percent. They can’t take that record away from him.