Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unemployed in South Carolina

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has a mixed message about unemployment in her state. Houston Chronicle:

Here she's saying the unemployment rate is high because so many people are looking for work:

Joblessness is a headache for Haley. In July, South Carolina's unemployment rate was 10.9 percent, tying it for the nation's third worst with Michigan behind Nevada and California.

Haley said that's because the state's labor force has grown.

Here she's saying there are plenty of jobs:

Haley pointed out she's announced 11,491 jobs and $1.7 billion in investments.

"That's a lot of jobs. But why are we still having the problems? Because we have companies that need workers. And we have workers that need jobs and we don't have the training to match them up," Haley said.

Here she's saying that the unemployed are lazy drug addicts:
Haley also is working out details on how the state can require drug testing for people getting unemployment benefits. Haley said she was told half the applicants for hundreds of jobs at the Savannah River Site failed drug tests.

"I so want drug testing," Haley said. "It's something I've been wanting since the first day I walked into office."

Leaving aside the fact that workers pay into the unemployment funds, this mandatory testing would cost millions. Texas legislators abandoned the idea when they learned it would cost the state $30 million.

It seems there is some disagreement with Governor Haley's story about the number of drug testing failures at the Savannah River site. From the Huffington Post:

It may be an unemployment problem after all. Jim Giusti, a spokesman for the Department of Energy, which owns the River Site, told HuffPost he had no idea what Haley was talking about with regard to applicants flunking a drug test.

"Half the people who applied for a job last year or year 2009 did not fail the drug test," Giusti said. "At the peak of hiring under the Recovery Act we had less than 1 percent of those hired test positive."

The River Site doesn't even test applicants. "We only test them when they have been accepted," Giusti said.

Governor Haley's spokesperson was not available for comment. There is certainly a big discrepancy between her claim that half the applicants testing positive and the company saying that it was fewer than one percent testing positive.

As we learned on Sesame Street: one of these things is not like the other.

No comments: