Sunday, April 21, 2013

MacIver's no-good month of April

Not a good week to be in the MacIver Institute in Wisconsin, as this part of the right-wing lie machine was exposed in embarrassing fashion a couple of times recently.

The first was when MacIver and GOP front man Rick Esenberg were denied the ability to smear everyday public sector workers when a Grant County judge agreed with State Senator John Erpenbach that names of people who sent emails to him during the Act 10 controversy do not have to be revealed. This MacIver stunt, and the fact that Sen. Erpenbach had to get outside counsel (since Erpie figured correctly that Attorney General J-B Van Hollen wouldn't give him the best advice against a Bradley-funded organization), cost taxpayers $140,000.

And to what end was this suit filed? Not for keeping up sunshine laws, because Esenberg and MacIver have approved of Gov Walker and GOP redistricting crooks going to great lengths to avoid producing open records (proving again that the 21st Century GOP motto is "Our rules don't apply to us"). This was simply an attempt to intimidate and disparage public employees , and trying to continue this Administration's "Divide and Conquer" strategy. It makes you wonder who was the one who really gave these guys the order tom try to get the names on those emails, because we know MacIver does nothing on its own.

The other MacIver fail reared its head again in relation to their intentionally-deceptive claim of "137,000 jobs" created. Not only was this called out by Politi-fact as a "Pants on fire" lie, but the excuse MacIver slugs gave for trying to pull it over was especially lame.
But state experts and the governor’s own staff have long said that while the quarterly census is more accurate than monthly measures, the census data should only be viewed in one-year blocks. That is, January to January, or July to July. In other words, you can’t combine partial years of census data with full years to create a running total, due to major seasonal fluctuations in the workforce.

Here is what Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie told us when we asked about job numbers in the summer of 2012: "Please don’t, as John Koskinen, an economist at DOR would say, compare February temperatures to July."

When we asked MacIver to show us their math, spokesman Nick Novak (a former Walker staffer and campaign hack for the RNC and GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde) responded:

"We used Bureau of Labor Statistics QCEW figures for each month from January 2011 to September 2012 (the most recent month available). To get to the number of 137,372, we simply subtracted the January 2011 jobs number from the September 2012 jobs number.
How dumb does MacIver think the average rightie is that they could throw that easily-debunked crap out in public, and expect it to take hold? If I was a rightie with pride or a media member with self-respect, I'd be outraged that someone thought so little of me. But then again, if I was a rightie with prid or a political media member with self-respect tends not to exist.

And with Friday's release of the state-by-state jobs numbers, MacIver continues to look foolish. By their own measure, let's see how many jobs we have now compared to Sept. 2012.

Non-seasonally adjusted pvt. sector jobs
QCEW Sept 2012 2,342,956
BLS March 2013 2,330,500

Holy crap! We've lost 12,456 jobs in the last 6 months! Where are the headlines?

Fortunately, I understand that seasonal hiring (usually) doesn't pick up until April and May in Wisconsin, so I don't think too much of it on its face. (but if MacIver wants to play this game, then let's play, kids).

Now what the non-seasonal jobs number does foreshadow is a very bad trend for future QCEW stats. Unlike the warm March 2012, the cold March 2013 had a drop in job growth by more than 70%, in a time when seasonal hiring usually starts ramping up.

Wisconsin hiring, non-seasonally adjusted Feb-March 2012-2013
Feb - March 2012 +32,800
Feb - March 2013 +9,300

Which helps explain the drop in Wisconsin jobs numbers on a "seasonally-adjusted" basis for March 2013. A lot of Wisconsin's Midwestern neighbors also lost jobs on this measure last month, which indicates a seasonal trend that Wisconsin is a part of. But that doesn't explain why Wisconsin still trails 5 of its 6 neighbors for job growth over the last 12 months, with the country growing 3 times faster.

Private sector job growth, Midwest Mar 2012-Mar 2013
Minn +1.96%
U.S. +1.78%
Mich +1.66%
Ind. +1.31%
Iowa +0.81%
Ill. +0.79%
Wis. +0.62%
Ohio +0.38%

This slow private sector growth lands Wisconsin 42nd in the nation over the last 12 months - right in line with the 44th we have in the QCEW that ran through Sept 2012. And it ain't turning around anytime soon.

But please MacIver, keep trying to tell us "It's working" (like you and fellow Astrotrufers at AFP have tried since 2011), because no one outside of your little bubble-world is buying your crap, especially after these last 10 days.

1 comment:

  1. No, Jake, the correct way to misrepresent jobs data à la MacIver is to compare the seasonal peak to the seasonal trough. Your choice of months is suboptimal and using QCEW instead of CES for the start value doesn't help either (since QCEW is a direct measure of most jobs it runs lower than CES which is an estimate of all jobs).

    Fudging to the max, then:

    CES unadjusted, August 2012: 2,426,000
    CES unadjusted, February 2013: 2,323,600

    Which then leads to the MacIver-esque conclusion:

    "Holy crap! We lost 102,400 jobs in just 6 months!!!"