- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Both leading candidates for Georgia governor found reasons to trumpet their own campaigns in relation to the state’s latest unemployment numbers out Thursday, less than three weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

Georgia’s Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent in September, down slightly from 8.1 percent in August. It’s the first decrease in the rate since April.

Gov. Nathan Deal says he welcomes all new jobs, but reiterated doubts he raised last month about the federally provided number. Deal said other economic measures show Georgia is adding jobs.

“The unemployment rate is a true outlier in this case,” he said. “It is not consistent with all the other indications of a growing economy.”

Democrat Jason Carter said the slight improvement still meant 15,000 fewer jobs in the state and criticized Deal’s leadership as the state recovers from the Great Recession.

“We’re still dead last in terms of how quickly we’re recovering from the recession,” Carter said. “And that means every single other state, every other governor has a better record in terms of managing the recession than our governor. So I think we still need a new direction in the state.”

The August number swung the focus of the race for governor from education squarely to the economy, as Democrat Jason Carter argued incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal was to blame for Georgia’s slow recovery.

Deal suggested politics were at play and questioned the number, which is developed by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics using household surveys and modeling. He has since said that Georgia was hit hard by the Great Recession.

Economists regularly caution against using the unemployment rate as the sole measure of a state’s economic health. The monthly rates also can be revised after more study.

Meanwhile, Carter opened another attack on Deal during an appearance with veterans, arguing that the governor has politicized the state’s National Guard. Carter, retired Lt. Gen. David Poythress, a three-star general who once led Georgia’s Department of Defense, and former Sen. Max Cleland blasted Deal over his selections to lead the Georgia National Guard with former state senator Jim Butterworth as adjunct general in 2012.

“These people, the governor’s appointees, are not federally recognized generals,” Poythress said. “When they go to the Pentagon, when they go to the meetings of other general officers, they have to wear a coat and tie. They don’t belong there, and everybody knows they don’t belong there.”

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the attack ignores the Georgia Army National Guard’s recognition by the National Guard Bureau and Deal’s own military service.

“We appreciate Jason Carter giving us the chance to contrast the governor’s military credentials with the senator’s complete and utter lack of them,” Robinson said. “Perhaps we should forgive Carter’s ill-advised criticism of the best National Guard in the nation; after all, we know inexperienced state senators from Chicago don’t understand how the military works.”


Associated Press Writer Christina A. Cassidy contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide