Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oops, J-S and Walker Admin fail on jobs numbers again!

I was planning to discuss this in greater depth in the near future, but Bruce Murphy at Urban Milwaukee beat me to it. Yet again, the Walker Administration has been cherry-picking jobs numbers, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Politi-crap is a willing accomplice is spreading the deception.

Walker claimed that 2013 was a year in which Wisconsin added the most private sector jobs since the 1990s, and Politi-"fact" gave this claim a "Mostly true". But one look at this chart shows that claim was merely a result of timing, and not of sustained growth.

See that last peak? That's the end of 2013, where Walker based his claim on, and Murphy points out that it's quite a selective period to spotlight.
As can be seen in the chart [above], calculations of private sector jobs in comparison to jobs in the same month a year earlier have striking peaks and valleys. Walker was able to make this claim because December 2013 fell near the top of one of those peaks.

Even after adjusting for seasonality, monthly job data suffer from considerable variability due to the limits of sampling. Comparing two months compounds this variability if the first underestimates and the second overestimates what is happening in the population.

The implication of the governor’s claim is that job growth has been accelerating in Wisconsin. The actual data offer no support for this conclusion.
You can play this "point in time" jobs growth argument the other way as well, as I did when I pointed out that March 2012-March 2013 and March 2013-March 2014 had lower job growth than we did in the 12 months before the Legislature passed Act 10. Look what could have been said after the disastrous April 2013 jobs report, when year-over-year increases were at 14,600- the worst since the Recession was ending. If you said Walker was a failure and doing worse at job creation than we were in Doyle's last year (100% true, based on the numbers), I bet Politi-crap would have let Scotty off the hook and say this was less than "mostly true" and made up some excuse about monthly fluctuation.

And you can't help but notice that after Walker was retained in the June 2012 recall election, job growth didn't "take off like a rocket", as Walker, Robbin' Vos and other Republicans predicted, but instead starting falling for well over the next year. In fact, our current level of year-over-year amount of private sector jobs gained is no different than we had in Summer 2011, when we were still under the Doyle/Dem budget.

If you want the big-picture about the Scott Walker private-sector jobs record, this chart should give you a good idea. It uses the same stats Walker and Politi-crap cited in their article, and it shows that the state is 56,500 jobs below what they would have had if they had just kept up with the pace in the rest of the nation. And that Walker jobs gap grew by more than 10,000 in the first 3 months of 2014.

So you if Gov Walker and Politi-"fact" wants to play this game, I'm more than willing to play it, because the body of work shows Wisconsin has significant underperformed in job growth compared to our neighbors and the nation as a whole.

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