Press "Enter" to skip to content

Noem Job Recovery Claim Doesn’t Fit Unemployment Data

The fact that Governor Kristi Noem is not only ignoring valid and instructive policy questions from the senior journalist in Pierre but freaking out over the reporter’s critique of a diversionary heading on a gubernatorial press release (seriously, read Noem’s headline, then assess its relevance to the real news announced, the rejection of additional unemployment benefits) indicates Noem’s contempt for both the media and substantive public policy discussion:

“The governor issued a public statement on the matter. That’s her statement,” Maggie Seidel said. “You may not appreciate them, but nevertheless the facts and reasons for her decision are all laid out in the statement.

“To pretend like she hasn’t addressed the subject or outlined her thought process isn’t fair or accurate. The critique of the headline is surreal – I’ve literally never had a journalist attack a press release headline in my entire career,” Seidel continued [Bob Mercer, “S.D. Governor’s Office Stands by Unemployment Statement, Declines to Answer Questions,” KELO-TV, 2020.08.20].

But as an undercard, spurned reporter Bob Mercer notices another detail in Governor Kristi Noem’s strange obfuscation her benefit-rejection decision that demonstrates her ongoing contempt for math and truth:

The governor’s August 14 statement included this sentence: “South Dakota’s economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses.” A long-term chart of South Dakota unemployment, distributed in a packet Tuesday to the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, shows data that indicates otherwise: Continued claims rose sharply as COVID-19 spread in South Dakota, climbing from fewer than 5,000 to a peak of more than 25,000, before declining to 14,428 on the chart [Mercer, 2020.08.20].

Here’s the chart to which Mercer refers:

South Dakota ongoing unemployment claims, Jan 2016–Aug 2020, South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management, distributed to Governor's Council of Economic Advisors 2020.08.18.
South Dakota ongoing unemployment claims, Jan 2016–Aug 2020, South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management, distributed to Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors 2020.08.18.

Hmmm… the orange curve for 2020 looks to be around 3,000 continued claims for unemployment insurance pre-pandemic. It touches 25,000 at Week 20 of this year. That’s 22,000 jobs we could reasonably ascribe to the sudden coronavirus recession. The Bureau of Finance and Management specifies 14,428 ongoing claims at Week 32. That’s about 10,600 claims cleared, which we’ll assume means 10,600 South Dakotans’ off the dole and back to work. That’s (10,600/22,000) about 48% of the job loss recovered, 52% remaining.

Yeah, there’s a pretty big difference between saying you’ve gotten rid of 80% of your economic damage and saying that you still have more than half of that damage to clean up.

I suppose Bob Mercer could ask Governor Noem to clarify which figures she used to derive her 80% recovery claim… but then she’d prbably get mad and send Maggie Seidel out to freak out on him again, painting him as an attacker for asking the Governor to clarify the statements that good, loyal citizens would accept as gospel.


  1. o 2020-08-21 16:03

    If the person in charge, Governor or President, says something, then it is fact. That is the post-evidence world we have lived in since the Trump rise. Executive proclamations make it so.

    If this were an issue of conflicting data or even conflicting interpretations of data, that would be a welcome debate; instead, it seems to be a continuation of a pattern of fiat – fiat of fact – and the voters bear responsibility for this. When the electorate does not question, when we accept false proclamations, when we disregard legitimate evidence that goes contrary to the pep rally banners and bumper stickers, that is on us. The fight is not getting people to accept contradicting evidence, it is to get people to accept EVIDENCE period.

  2. Moses6 2020-08-21 18:06

    Reach out itodept of laborabiut as fake as Noem is

  3. grudznick 2020-08-21 19:10

    Probably French math going on here. Wait for somebody to do the American math on all this.

  4. Francis Schaffer 2020-08-21 19:58

    I presume some of the jobs lost are never coming back as businesses have closed forever. I would think knowing how many jobs are being advertised for the number of unemployed would be a relevant metric to know.

  5. Jake 2020-08-22 13:39

    Figures don’t lie-but LIARS figure!

  6. Debbo 2020-08-22 21:06

    Kruel Kristi has learned her lessons from Liar-in-Chief very well. South Dakotans are getting what they vote for.

  7. leslie 2020-08-23 04:14

    This is Organized GOP DISTRACTION from Republican offensive election subterfuge:

    has received new internal USPS documents with nationwide performance data from July/August showing the “delays we have all heard about are actually far worse

    Here are the docs just released. The Postmaster General withheld this information (which was prepared directly for him last week on August 12) from the Senate and the House.

    He needs to resign immediately.

  8. Joe 2020-08-23 10:31

    As with the tRump team, a background in gaslighting is a requirement for Noem’s “communications” staff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.