Figures are misleading

To the Editor:

In an effort to determine exactly how many Minnesotans are unemployed, I will author legislation this session to complement existing unemployment statistics by factoring in the underemployed and those who have stopped searching for a job.

A 4.7 percent state unemployment rate sounds fantastic, but the reality is this figure does not include those who have given up the job hunt or the part-time workers who really want a full-time job. If we factored in these Minnesotans, the true unemployment number is likely closer to 10 percent – and that’s unacceptable.”

I serve as the Republican lead on the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee. My bill would force the Department of Employment and Economic Development to use the most accurate, comprehensive employment numbers available to Minnesota from the federal government.

Minnesota’s official unemployment number helps lawmakers better understand how Minnesota’s economy is growing. How will legislators be able to eliminate barriers to employment if we have no idea how many Minnesotans are without jobs?

I want to help everyone who wants a job to get a job, but we can’t do that until we know exactly how many people are unemployed. This bill would be a crucial first step toward helping Minnesotans get back to work.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,