At the first mayoral forum on March 27, candidate Mark Andrew criticized current city leadership for not having a “articulated, cogent, rational, comprehensive strategy” to recapture Minneapolis jobs.
To illustrate his point, Andrew threw out a bold statistic.
“In Minneapolis today, we have 28,000 fewer jobs than we had in 2001.”
Andrew’s statement is based on outdated numbers from 2010.
According to numbers from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minneapolis is down only 6,574 jobs between 2001 and September 2012, the most recent data available for jobs in the city.
In 2001, the city was home to 305,880 jobs. In September 2012 that number was 299,306 (See tables below).
Andrew’s campaign got his numbers from a 2011 Metropolitan Council study of job losses in the Twin Cities region. The Met Council uses the same DEED numbers, but the numbers from the Met Council study come from 2010, when the 2008 financial collapse was just a couple years old.
The numbers used by Andrew don’t factor in the past two years of economic growth. Minneapolis has gained 18,169 jobs since the Met Council study was published.
Andrew’s campaign manager Joe Ellickson said Andrew should have clarified the time period he was referencing.
“When Mark started looking at the Met Council’s job numbers last year, he was absolutely appalled by them,” Ellickson said. “We are absolutely happy to hear that we have gained back a number of those jobs, but we still have over 6,000 less jobs today than in 2001 and that is too many jobs that we need to recover.”
Andrew isn’t the only one using the misleading numbers. Kendal Killian, who is running for City Council in Ward 10, cited the same Met Council study, but like Andrew, ignored the past two years of economic growth in Minneapolis.
Killian has, on several occasions, told a story about moving here as a young man and entering a city of economic opportunity.
“But today, unfortunately, those economic opportunities are not nearly as available as they once were. In fact, we have 27,000 less jobs in Minneapolis between 2000 and 2010,” Killian said at a recent environmental forum.
Technically Killian is accurate because he is comparing 2000 to 2010 and job losses were close to the 27,000 during that time period. And, when you compare today’s job numbers with the 2000 job numbers, the city is down closer to 15,000 jobs.
Killian said today he just looked at the Met Council study and didn’t consider recent economic progress.. He said he wouldn’t use the numbers again.
“I don’t want to say stuff that is wrong,” he said. “I will stop. I am actually shocked we have restored that many jobs in a short period of time. That’s really good news. I am not tying to say anything inaccurate.”
Ellickson said Andrew would be clear in the future about the time period he is referencing, but won’t stop talking about jobs.
“We aren’t going to apologize for bringing job numbers forward,” he said. “It’s important that we’re talking about these jobs in our community.”