Warm Southern Breeze

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Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bentley UR Tweet 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Bentley UR Tweet Claim 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD has crowed about “success” in lowering Alabama unemployment during the past 4 years of his term.

However, to be certain, a random statistical examination of the state’s Unemployment rate shows that it is very likely, AT LEAST two points higher than reported.  Here’s how.

Unemployment is calculated as a simple average. Take the number of people working, added into the number of people NOT working, AND who WANT to work, divided by the people who are available to work, gives the unemployment rate.

Here’s how the Bureau of  Labor Statistics defines the parameters of the equation:

What are the basic concepts of employment and unemployment?

The basic concepts involved in identifying the employed and unemployed are quite simple:
• People with jobs are employed.
• People who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work are unemployed.
• The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
• People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.

Simply put, the formula is:

Unemployment Rate = Unemployed

Employed + Unemployed


However, if you’ve had a college course in Statistics – and most folks in Alabama have not (it’s part of maintaining the policy of “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”) – then you’d understand that a random sample of the set would show essentially the same results.

And face it… most folks in Alabama DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. In fact, according to the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama’s High School Drop Out rate is 28%. Page 2, Frame 2 of the linked document shows the 2010-2011 TOTAL Graduation Rate as 72%.



The MAJORITY of the state’s residents are “Largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 18.1% of Alabama residents live BELOW the Poverty Level. The National Average is 14.9%. Again, Alabama is BELOW the National Average.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Alabama residents who possess a Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2008-2012 is 22.3%. The National Average is 28.5%. Again, Alabama is BELOW National Average.

Alabama’s Legislators fell – hook, line, and sinker – for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s HB-56 Law, which wa$ted and co$t Alabama taxpayer$ untold million$ to defend in court.
• “HB56 was drafted, at least in part, by Kris Kobach…
• “The architect of Alabama’s controversial immigration law is a Kansas Republican who says he wrote the bill on his laptop computer while sitting in a turkey blind.
• ““Alabama is now the new No. 1 state for immigration enforcement,” said Kris Kobach, a constitutional lawyer who is secretary of state in Kansas. He has helped write many state bills to curtail illegal immigration, including Alabama’s.



Anyway… back to Unemployment figures under Governor Bentley.

A Random Statistical Sample should show the similar results as if the entire group was counted. In other words, picking a few counties out RANDOMLY and examining them, should accurately reflect the whole group. It’s Higher Math. And if you’ve not graduated 12th Grade, or earned a University/College Degree, you probably don’t know about it… which is why I’m going to explain it to you.

The Unemployment Rate – as shown above – is a simple, arithmetic average. And, averages can be good. However, averages can – and are – also artificially manipulated by “outliers.” Outliers are groups of numbers that are OUTSIDE the average. And, if there are enough of them, they skew – bend, twist, pervert – the results.

So, to determine the rate, I purposed to use TWO Random Number Generators, and select TWO differently-sized samples to determine if the data was accurate.

There are 67 counties in Alabama. Each county has a numerical assignment on automobile license plates. County #1 is Jefferson County, which assignment was made long ago by virtue of it’s population – it was once the most populous county in Alabama.

Using a True Random Number Generator (RNG) on Random.org, I chose a minimum value of 1 and maximum value of 67 (the number of counties in Alabama), with NO seed, and selected a sample size of 15. This is Set Sample #1.

Next, using the Random Number Generator (RNG) on http://stattrek.com/statistics/random-number-generator.aspx, I entered the maximum value of 67, and selected numbers until I had a sample size of 20, with NO REPEATING numbers. This is Set Sample #2.

The numbers represented the Counties tag assignment.

Alabama’s Tag Assignment by County is as follows:
Alabama Counties by Tag Number

1 Jefferson
2 Mobile
3 Montgomery
4 Autauga
5 Baldwin
6 Barbour
7 Bibb
8 Blount
9 Bullock
10 Butler
11 Calhoun
12 Chambers
13 Cherokee
14 Chilton
15 Choctaw
16 Clarke
17 Clay
18 Cleburne
19 Coffee
20 Colbert
21 Conecuh
22 Coosa
23 Covington
24 Crenshaw
25 Cullman
26 Dale
27 Dallas
28 Dekalb
29 Elmore
30 Escambia
31 Etowah
32 Fayette
33 Franklin
34 Geneva
35 Greene
36 Hale
37 Henry
38 Houston
39 Jackson
40 Lamar
41 Lauderdale
42 Lawrence
43 Lee
44 Limestone
45 Lowndes
46 Macon
47 Madison
48 Marengo
49 Marion
50 Marshall
51 Monroe
52 Morgan
53 Perry
54 Pickens
55 Pike
56 Randolph
57 Russell
58 Shelby
59 St. Clair
60 Sumter
61 Talladega
62 Tallapoosa
63 Tuscaloosa
64 Walker
65 Washington
66 Wilcox
67 Winston

Referring to the FRED – Federal Reserve Economic Data – of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, (which obtains the figures from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics), I examined the counties corresponding with the numbers generated by the RNG.

In Set Sample #1, they were:

-Unemployment Rate-
 1  2  Mobile  8.1
 2  7  Bibb  7.5
 3 17  Clay  8.3
 4 19  Coffee  6.5
 5 28  Dekalb  7.1
 6 34  Geneva  6.8
 7 36  Hale  8.9
 8 42  Lawrence  8.9
 9 46  Macon  9.4
10 47  Madison  6.1
11 49  Marion  9.0
12 51  Monroe 12.3
13 60  Sumter 11.2
14 61  Talladega  7.4
15 66  Wilcox 16.4


In Set Sample #2, they were:

-Unemployment Rate-
1 2 Mobile 8.1
2 6  Barbour  12.3
3 7  Bibb  7.5
4 8  Blount  5.7
5 10  Butler  9.1
6 12  Chambers  7.1
7 18  Cleburne  6.3
8 22  Coosa  8.3
9 32  Fayette  8.2
10 35  Greene  11.9
11 36  Hale  8.9
12 42  Lawrence  8.9
13 43  Lee  5.8
14 48  Marengo  8.6
15 49  Marion  9.0
16 51  Monroe  12.3
17 59  St. Clair  6.1
18 60  Sumter  11.2
19 63  Tuscaloosa  6.3
20 66  Wilcox  16.4


Next, using arithmetical averaging, I obtained the average of both Set Samples.

Set Sample #1:
Sum 133.9
Minimum 6.1
Maximum 16.4
Average 8.9266

Set Sample #2:
Sum 178
Minimum 5.7
Maximum 16.4
Average 8.9

As can be seen, the two Set Samples – even though they contained two different sized samples – 15 & 20 – BOTH returned the SAME average – 8.9.

What can we say about this?

The Random Sample Analysis shows that Alabama’s Unemployment Rate for the Month of August 2014 was 8.9% – HIGHER than the reported Statewide Average of 6.9% for that month.

Consider also the following:
The Unemployment Rate from 1990-2014 for the Counties sampled in the example above, are shown below.

In many cases, the LOWEST Unemployment Rate under Governor Bentley’s term in office (2011-2014) corresponds with a HIGH Unemployment Rate in the preceding administrations, and in some cases, parallels the HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT rates.

Consider Blount County. The reported rate of 5.7% is as high as it was in the early 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Same thing for Bibb County.
Same thing for Cleburne County.
Same thing for Coffee County.
Same thing for Coosa County.
Same thing for DeKalb County.
Same thing for Hale County.
Same thing for Lawrence County.
Same thing for Lee County.
Same thing for Madison County.
Same thing for Marengo County.
Same thing for St. Clair County.
Same thing for Talladega County.

Et cetra, etc., etc.

In fact, it would probably be accurate to say that – based upon the random samples shown below – that the counties are WORSE off under Governor Bentley than they’ve been since 1990.

And, because these random samples are representative of the state as a whole, and at large, it would be similarly accurate to say that Alabama – as a state – is WORSE off under Governor Bentley than it’s been since 1990.

Bibb County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Blount County UR 90-14 5-7

Blount County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Butler County UR 90-14 9-1

Butler County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Chambers County UR 90-14 7-1

Chambers County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Clay County UR 90-14 8-3

Clay County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Cleburne County UR 90-14 6-3

Cleburne County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Coffee County UR 90-14 6.5

Coffee County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Coosa County UR 90-14 8-3

Coosa County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

DeKalb County UR 90-14 7.1

DeKalb County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Fayette County UR 90-14 8-2

Fayette County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Marengo County UR 90-14 8-6

Marengo County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Madison County UR 90-14 6-1

Madison County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Lawrnce County UR 90-14 8-9

Lawrence County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Greene County UR 90-14 11-9

Greene County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Lee County UR 90-14 5-8

Lee County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Geneva County UR 90-14 6-8

Geneva County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Macon UR 90-14 9-4

Macon County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Marion County UR 90-14 9-0

Marion County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Hale County UR 90-14 8-9

Hale County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Mobile County UR 90-14 8-1

Mobile County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Monroe County UR 90-14 12-3

Monroe County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

St Clair County UR 90-14 6-1

St. Clair County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Sumter County UR 90-14 11-2

Sumter County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Talladega UR 90-14 7-4

Talladega County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Tuscaloosa County UR 90-14 6.3

Tuscaloosa County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

Wilcox County UR 90-14 16.4

Wilcox County, Alabama Unemployment – 1990-2014

2 Responses to “Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated”

  1. […] Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated […]


  2. […] as I have written previously (October 2014, Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated), the rate is subject to flaw precisely because it is a simple arithmetical average of all […]


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