As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolOPB Reporter Job, Anyone?
Folks, the night before writing this I went and saw The Force Awakens. I’m a harshly critical person at times, but it blew my mind. However, what blew my mind more is this Oregon Public Broadcasting headline: “Seasonal Hiring Lowers Oregon’s Unemployment.”

Wait a second. So when jobs are available, and people take them… the unemployment rate… goes down? In the immortal words of Darth Vader, “Noooooooooooo!”

Only, yes, because holy crap, is that not the most common sense determination of all time? I don’t know what crack team of researchers were flown in to reach this conclusion, but bless their little hearts. In all actuality, the unemployment rate has been dropping for reasons all over the board – down to 5.7% from October’s 6%. Just a year ago we were at 6.8%, and many state economists are considering this the fastest rate of job growth in nine years. Don’t worry though, we still suck compared to the national average, which is 5%.

Now, despite opening the door to discuss the influence of seasonal positions on the overall job market right in the headline, the article goes on to say nothing else about it. Being the diligent researcher that I am, I hit the hard streets of Google to get some answers. Forbes had a lot to say on the matter, insisting that there are a lot of seasonal jobs that pay really well. Cool! The first one they mention is “marketing coordinator,” which earns about $52 an hour on average (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Oh. I thought they were going to talk about real human beings for a second. Granted, if you read far enough down you see more realistic stuff mentioned, like “customer service representative,” but they also say that pays an average of $15 an hour, which is, of course, a bald-faced lie. Or they’re still discussing the alien planet of Zoltar, where honey and milk run down mountainsides in waterfalls and poop tastes like candy. In fact, in a feat of ridiculousness so powerful I was almost brought to tears, they even suggested that “photographer” is a great, easily accessible seasonal job. Because there is such a shortage of those clamoring for clients. What’s the rate again, one in every three cameras sold creates a new “[Insert Name Here] Photography” Facebook page?

If you can make it to the end of this nonsense, and I almost didn’t, you’re treated with some great tips: be professional, use a cover letter, and… no, I’m not even going to finish that sentence.

Moving on. After checking a dozen other sources, I confirmed what I already thought. Most seasonal jobs suck and only a very small percentage of these jobs actually turn into permanent positions (even if Forbes says otherwise, because they’re dumb). Target’s seasonal average is $10 an hour. Macy’s? $9. You get the picture.

Anyway, this is all very depressing, so we’ll move on. Point being, if your only source for looking at the state of unemployment statistics has trouble putting the seasonal job boom into context, you might want to find another one.

Obama Sends Klamath Falls Woman Home After 17 Years
In what has got to be one of the most rewarding duties to perform, President Barack Obama has included one Angie Jenkins of Klamath Falls in his recent clemency love explosion. Amongst 95 people to get shortened sentences (or pardoned altogether, in the case of two) Jenkins will be leaving prison after serving a model 17 years of a 30-year sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine.

And hey, drugs are bad, mmmk? At least selling the kind that make your teeth fall out and leave you throwing punches at the air in the local Walmart parking lot is bad. But 30 years is nuts, and Jenkins has made herself an ideal candidate through behavior and rehabilitation.

For those of you who will inevitably complain: drug laws in the late 1990s were harsh. If she were convicted today her sentence would have been a lot lighter. I’m sure Jenkins is no world-class individual like Scooter Libby or Michael Milken, but we can’t really expect Obama to live up to the Bush standard anyway.

Oregonians Love to Dump
According to a new report from the state Department of Environmental Quality, Oregonians decided to just throw stuff away, rather than recycle, in 2014. In the amount of 2,572,453 tons (that’s 5,144,906,000, or enough in pounds of burritos to just about feed everyone on Earth), to be exact.

 And… the state still achieved its recycling goals. Because the planet is doomed.

 By Johnny Beaver