Kentucky Democratic governor Andy Beshear says that under his watch, there are "more Kentuckians employed than ever before in state history." There are actually fewer Kentuckians working now than when Beshear took office, labor statistics show.
Beshear during a June 8 address opted to "start today with some incredible news" about "Kentucky setting another milestone, breaking another record." The number of Kentuckians "employed and in secure jobs" is the highest ever, Beshear said, a line he repeated in a follow-up press release. "Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that there are more Kentuckians employed than ever before in state history," the release said.
But Beshear's claim falls apart under scrutiny. Labor statistics show that roughly 1.97 million Kentuckians are employed now—22,000 fewer than the 1.99 million that were employed when Beshear took office in December 2019, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. Beshear, by contrast, says more than 2 million Kentuckians are working, a stat that comes from a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of state businesses. That survey, however, counts total workers, not individuals who are employed, meaning those who hold multiple jobs are double- or triple-counted.
For Kentucky Republican Party spokesman Sean Southard, the contradiction shows Beshear "either doesn't understand the numbers or purposely misled the public and the media."
"He can try and manipulate the data all day long, but it won't change this fact: There are fewer people employed today than the day he took office," Southard said in a statement. "If the governor understood the number, he should explain why he thinks needing an extra job to make ends meet in the Biden-Beshear economy is worth celebrating."
Beshear seems to be changing his tune on his stat. After the Courier Journal presented the Democrat with the correct labor statistics, Beshear on Thursday said Kentucky has a record number of jobs filled, not of employed Kentuckians. Beshear's office is nonetheless touting the amended achievement, with spokeswoman Crystal Staley saying Beshear "has secured the most filled jobs in state history, which now exceed a historic 2 million."
The snafu comes as Beshear faces a difficult reelection bid against Republican attorney general Daniel Cameron. Beshear, the son of Kentucky's 61st governor who also served as the Bluegrass State's attorney general, rose to the governor's mansion in 2019 after beating unpopular GOP incumbent Matt Bevin by less than 1 percentage point. Cameron is expected to be a more formidable challenger—both candidates are tied at 47 percent support, according to a Cygnal poll conducted in May. The pair will square off at the ballot box in November.