Friday, March 24, 2006

Could Hiring Problems be Related to Employment Numbers?

The headline in the Potomac News Thursday shouts the good news - Unemployment rate in county drops from '05. And since our rate was already low, this was even more amazing. From the article:

Prince William County has the state's 10th-lowest jobless rate for January -- lower than both Manassas and Manassas Park, according to a monthly statistical report.

The unemployment rate for January was 2.4 percent, down from 2.8 percent in January 2005.

This is on the heels of a vote by the Board of County Supervisors to approve a $250,000 subsidy to a non-profit organization which they hope will provide affordable housing to a few county employees. The reason for the expenditure? We are having trouble hiring and keeping workers. Supposedly, giving the workers a break on home ownership will solve this problem.

But isn't it more likely that the problem is that everybody in the county already HAS a job? Remember, the unemployment rate measures the number of people who live in the county now, who want jobs but don't have jobs. Numbers under 5 or 4% are considered full employment, and we are at 2.4%.

In other words, there are virtually no people living in our county now that are employable, and that don't already HAVE a job. If we want new county employees to l ive in the county, we need to get more people to move into the county.

I haven't written about the debate over this "affordable housing" boondoggle, I hope to get around to it before it is old news.

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