"It's the recession, stupid" to "Erin go bragh!": a chain of unacknowledged problems

While we didn't have James Carville at town meetings in Tompkins County recently, we did have Barbara Lifton. She insisted that the sorry state of the NYS economy was not as bad as it appeared and in any case was certainly not due to anything systemic like, you know, a rotten business climate, but was the fault of "the recession."

Hmmm...a story in the Ithaca Journal stated

The recession has been a kinder and gentler one for upstate New York compared to the rest of the country, said Richard Deitz, a senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

"As job growth began to decline in the U.S., it actually began to pick up in upstate New York," he said. "Job loss began much later in upstate than it did in the U.S. and the rate of job loss throughout the recession was not as severe."....

Allen Lambert's response to this article:

Besides having a lot of colleges to depend on, CNY went thru its decline much earlier -- gradually and over past 40 years as manufacturing jobs left. So economy and housing (except Ithaca) have been depressed and near bottom for a long time. Not much [lower] left to go...

Education and health care may provide jobs, but they do not produce basics like food, clothes, housing, buildings, and the construction materials for roads, vehicles, bldgs, etc. Without basic production an economy (regional or national) is at greater risk.

So Tompkins County, as we all know, exists in a fragile bubble—on a lot of different levels—a bubble that doesn't exist for much of the rest of the state. The state unemployment rate hovers around 8% while the county rate is about 5.5%.  How many people in the state are in the long-term unemployed category (unemployed for more than 6 months)? Well, with the federal "tiers" layered on top of the basic state unemployment benefits, it starts to look like the public-employee pension tiers:

Suffice it to say, there's a non-zero—considerably more than zero—number of long-term unemployed people in NYS.  Which brings us to the "Erin go bragh" part.

Must be that March put him in mind of St. Patrick, shamrocks, and all things Irish...Alan Farnham at ABC News reports (via Hot Air):

In the bad old days of the 1800s, when it was legal for employers to discriminate against anyone they pleased, job postings used to say things like: "No Irish Need Apply." Now the unemployed, it seems, have become the new Irish: In advertisement after advertisement, employers come right out and tell them they're not wanted.....

You heard right: If you've been laid off or are out of work, pal, scram -- this employer, like many others, doesn't want you. You're damaged goods.....

Oh, please.  The long-term unemployed are the "new Irish"?  Ed Morrissey recounts his experience:

The analogy is far from perfect, mainly because Farnham confuses discrimination based on ethnicity and the normal discernment of employers based on experience and job history.  As a hiring manager for 15 years, I can attest that under normal conditions, the long-term unemployed are higher risks for problems in employment and for long-term performance...When exceptions were made, we usually had trouble with performance as a result....

...employers now have a much wider applicant base and can afford to be more selective.  With so many new workers entering into the economy and not enough jobs to go around, it has become a buyer’s market, which means that employers don’t need to take risks in staffing decisions.  While employment track records may be less indicative over the last three years of high unemployment, it’s still an issue that raises red flags about commitment and performance...

Heaven forbid that HR people should behave rationally.

And lastly, on a related note, we should be very skeptical of unemployment statistics in general (via Legal Insurrection):

Indeed, there is really nothing in the record books that correlates with the current situation. If you look at the percentage of the total adult population employed, you might wish to conclude that we are actually in the second phase of a double-dip jobs recession....

This often overlooked trend is something that the unemployment rate is not going to pick up when large numbers of workers become discouraged and drop out of the labor force. ...though the country added jobs last year, those have basically just kept up with population growth, meaning that we're still at the bottom of a huge crater....

Do read the rest.