Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Once again, 3 good months doesn't change Walker's bad record

I noticed that Scott Walker has a new favorite economic metric- the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's monthly state-by-state indexes. And with good reason, because the state coincident indexes released today show that Wisconsin had the 2nd highest-growth in the U.S. for the Summer months of June, July and August. And I know this'll stun you, but Walker's office came out within a few hours with a press release mentioning it.
Wisconsin’s growth rate over the last three months is the best in 25 years and the state’s ranking is the best in history.

“This is more great news, not only for the state, but for job-seekers and employers as well,” Governor Walker said. “A better economy means a better quality of life for all Wisconsinites, and that is why it is my top priority. This latest history-making ranking is one more sign we are heading in the right direction.”
Notice the mention of "heading in the right direction." Because that's what a politician does when their policies have generally failed but they've had a recent upturn. Bush and Cheney gave a whole lot of "heading in the right direction" comments while our troops were in Iraq. Didn't mean things were handled right, or that things wouldn't revert to horrible soon.

And I wasn't the only guy who noticed our fair leader now proclaiming how the Philly Fed survey was the one to look at. Wisconsin Public Radio pointed out how the Guv has conveniently stopped talking about another economic stat.
About a month before his recall election, monthly estimates showed Walker had lost jobs his first year in office. To counter that, Walker sped the release of actual job counts showing job gains. (and he lied about what those numbers were).

“The numbers we're talking about today aren't a poll,” he said at the time. “They're an actual survey of more than 150,000 employers of this state.”

The numbers Walker highlighted that day and for more than a year since are the backbone of the federal government's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which economists regard as the most thorough and accurate job measure.
But quoting the QCEW as an accurate measure of how you're policies are doing is so 2012.
“Rankings that come out are typically based on quarterly numbers that come out from [the Bureau of Labor Statistics], which are a six-month lag,” [Walker] says. “What we're trying to look at is not six months ago … but where are we going to be in the next six months.”

Walker is talking about the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's Leading Index, a complex prediction of where state economies are headed based on several factors, including housing permits, interest rates, and hours worked in manufacturing.

Marquette University's Charles Franklin says it's telling that Walker is moving away from a hard job count that's easy to understand to a much more complicated estimate that's hard to explain. “Politicians are not economists,” he says. “What politicians care about is the perception of how the economy is doing rather than the best or most reliable measure.”
It's also no coincidence that Walker's change of emphasis has happened when the QCEW is slated to be released this week, and will likely show Wisconsin in the bottom 10 of states for job growth from March 2012- March 2013. In addition, let's see if those job numbers stay strong now that the kids are back to school and frost will be soon be showing on some pumpkins.

And notice that Walker's only mentioning Philly Fed stats from the last few months. The guy's been in office for more than 2 1/2 years now, with a WisGOP majority for almost all that time. Why doesn't he stand behind the whole body of work?

Well, this chart shows you why- even with the good summer months of 2013, Wisconsin is still DEAD LAST in the Midwest in the Philly Fed index during the Age of Fitzwalkerstan.

Sorry Scotty, but the nice recent numbers do not erase more than 2 years of failed policies. And your newest job creation package is a classic "too little, too late" move, in the hope that voters have forgotten what you've been pulling for nearly 3 years.

Well, I sure haven't forgotten how badly you've screwed Wisconsin's economy. Just like the 2013 Brewers, one late-in-the-term good streak doesn't change the fact that this still has been a lousy team over at Walker and Friends. And just like the Brewers, the minor improvements we are be seeing now may mean very little for how well things go in 2014.


  1. I find it ironic that Walker now touts a measure that uses as one of its inputs the self-same CES data that he's spent over a year putting down as inaccurate.

    I find it disturbing that Walker's press release was stripped of his byline and published as news in more than one place.

    The Coincident Index can only have been properly benchmarked to the end of 2012, since that's when the last CES benchmark was for. Wisconsin is 37th for coincident index growth from December 2010 to December 2012.

    For Thursday's QCEW rankings for March 2013, my money's on 40th place for private sector job growth. That's where the pre-released figure of 24,124 would sit among the distribution of states in December 2012, adjusted for national CES growth changes between then and March 2013.

  2. GT.
    You are probably spot on.
    Also just read today that we are solidly in 41st place on the new Forbes 'best states to do business' list. We did beat Michigan here in the Midwest and we are still ahead of Mississippi- for now.